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Immigration Law

Fearing Lawsuits, Sheriffs Balk at ICE Detainers

"“When a judge says something is in violation of the Fourth Amendment, I am not going to just keep doing it,” said Sheriff William Gore of San Diego. “If they want to take someone into federal custody, they can decide to do that, but I am not going to keep holding somebody because they ask me to, and nothing more than that.”

The decision, said Sheriff Gore, echoing the sentiments of other sheriffs, has nothing to do with his own position on immigration, but rather with the predicament that Washington seems to have left him with. “We need them to figure this out,” he said. “They can’t just rely on us to do it for them.”

The Obama administration expanded the detainer program as a way to strengthen immigration enforcement and create a uniform policy for local police and sheriffs’ departments. Now, the backlash is creating the kind of patchwork system the policy was meant to avoid. Last month, California’s attorney general, Kamala D. Harris, published an advisory memo telling local law enforcement officials that departments that abide by the detainer requests could be vulnerable to lawsuits." - NYT, July 6, 2014.