Immigration Law

Cities Mull Cooperation With ICE, PEP

"The problems stem from a revolt against DHS’s enforcement of immigration laws. Johnson in November scrapped Secure Communities, a program under which DHS asked police to hold immigrants it wanted to deport for up to 48 hours after their scheduled release from custody. More than 350 communities had ended or dialed back their participation, citing legal and civil liberties concerns.

Now, DHS is encountering similar challenges as it rolls out the replacement for Secure Communities: the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), which began July 2. Pro-immigrant groups are already blasting the program, under which DHS will still coordinate with police to deport illegal immigrants but will mostly seek to be notified before they are released from custody, rather than having immigrants held beyond their scheduled release.

... While DHS says more than 30 of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies have indicated a willingness to work with the agency on PEP, few have publicly said they will participate. The city of Los Angeles told The Washington Post that its police department, the nation’s third largest, will not, though Los Angeles County is participating. Other jurisdictions — such as Philadelphia, with the fourth-largest police force — are wrestling with the issue at a time of changing demographics.

“We are walking a fine line,’’ said John H. Eaves, chairman of the Board of Commissioners in Fulton County, Ga., where Atlanta is located. The county is discussing PEP with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the DHS agency enforcing the program.

... In Cook County, Ill., which has also limited its cooperation with ICE, Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement that she “greatly appreciates Secretary Johnson traveling to Chicago’’ to meet with her about PEP.

But she has also not committed, saying the county “is open to continued dialogue and further meetings.’’

Meanwhile, officials in New York City, which has the nation’s largest police department, said only that they are still in talks with DHS. But the city’s policy severely limits its cooperation with ICE detainers, saying they must be accompanied by a federal warrant." - Washington Post, Aug. 3, 2015.