Sheriff's Office Halts Compliance With Federal Immigration Holds for Inmates

The ICE detainer requests "are not mandatory as a matter of law," according to Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston.

Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. Patch file photo.
Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. Patch file photo.
The Alameda County Sheriff's Office will no longer honor requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold suspected undocumented immigrants in jail who would otherwise be eligible for release, joining a growing wave of backlash against the controversial policy.
In a memo Wednesday, sheriff's Capt. Colby Staysa ordered that any inmates held in Alameda County jails who were not being otherwise held for further criminal proceedings be immediately released, and to no longer accept immigration detainer requests from ICE.
The ICE policy of requesting that local law enforcement agencies hold suspected undocumented immigrants for periods of up to 48 hours to be transferred to ICE custody for possible deportation was implemented in 2009.
The holds can be requested no matter the severity of the crime. Alameda County's move follows Contra Costa County, which halted its compliance with ICE detainer requests last week in response to an April 11 U.S. District Court ruling in Oregon that found that state's Clackamas County liable for a woman's unlawful detention under an ICE request.
ICE officials had clarified that detainer requests "are not mandatory as a matter of law," according to Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston, so his office stopped compliance.

The Oregon order noted that ICE's legal stance on whether it can require the holds may be shifting, because after 2010 the agency stopped using the word "require" in its requests to law enforcement agencies. Some counties had already placed limits on the requests, including San Francisco, which mandated that the requests only be honored in cases of serious or violent offenses.
Gov. Jerry Brown last October signed similar statewide legislation, the TRUST Act, that took effect in January, instructing law enforcement agencies not to comply with the policy unless the inmate has a serious criminal history. Santa Clara County, which debated the controversial policy late last year, has a policy of not cooperating with the hold requests unless ICE pays for the cost of continued detainment.
ICE officials had little to say today about the court rulings and recent announcements. ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said in a statement that ICE "will continue to work cooperatively with law enforcement partners throughout California as the agency seeks to enforce its priorities through the identification and removal of convicted criminals and others who are public safety threats."
Immigrant rights advocates hailed Alameda County's decision as a victory against what they have called the unconstitutional detention of undocumented immigrants under the policy.
"Today is a victorious day for immigrant communities and the values of due process and equality under the law in this country," the Alameda County United in Defense of Immigrant Rights coalition said in a statement Wednesday. "We call for continued dialogue so that we can ultimately end all entanglement between our local law enforcement and ICE's cruel deportation machinery," the statement said. Immigration rights group Causa Justa said that 2,377 Alameda County residents have been deported as a result of the sheriff's office's cooperation with the ICE policy.

—By Bay City News
Jow May 22, 2014 at 05:25 PM
I'm pretty sure ICEMAN was in Topgun...
djs May 22, 2014 at 06:51 PM
Even if you're for deportation, how can you be for holding illegals for months at a time, much in private prisons (near the border) at a cost of what, billions of dollars per year? Don't be duped!
david May 22, 2014 at 07:34 PM
Laws use to have consequences, but now even the police pick and choose which ones the feel like enforcing. If President Obama would fix this mess we could move forward. Oh yeah, it is all Bush's fault, oh how we desperately need a leader for our country.
Tim May 22, 2014 at 08:06 PM
I'm ll for deporting every last illegal, however, if the courts are going to hold local authorities liable for "unlawful detention" then what else are the local sheriffs supposed to do? The local police can't do anything about violations of federal immigration laws and the states cannot give them that authority (see SCOTUS ruling against AZ). The best thing locals can do is cut them loose at a local bus station and give them a one way bus ticket to San Francisco upon release from jail.
T.G. May 22, 2014 at 08:13 PM
Oh goody more illegals that we get to pay for. Housing money and school. Send them all back and let's see if the crime rate goes down.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »