Immigration Law

Feds Apologize to Cities for Faulty "Name and Shame" Reports, DHS Suspends Publication

Ron Nixon, New York Times, Apr. 10, 2017 - "The Trump administration will temporarily stop publication of a weekly report spotlighting cities and counties that fail to cooperate with federal immigration officials, people briefed on the change said, after several jurisdictions questioned the accuracy of the data.

The report, required by an executive order signed by President Trump in January, shows localities that decline requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to hold undocumented immigrants so they can be picked up later for deportation. ICE officials say the lack of cooperation endangers Americans, but cities and counties named in the reports say they are an attempt to force them to collaborate with the immigration authorities. Sarah Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for ICE, confirmed the temporary suspension of the report, saying it would allow the agency to “analyze and refine its reporting methodologies.”

The first report, released last month, was intended to provide a complete tally of cities and counties that had declined requests from ICE. But it contained misleading information that prompted confusion and defiance among law enforcement officials from the jurisdictions named.

For example, Nisha Agarwal, commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, said the ICE report incorrectly listed the city as being uncooperative even though it does assist the immigration agency. Ms. Agarwal said the city responded to ICE requests to detain people who had committed a violent crime or who were on a terrorism watch list. It does not respond to requests for people who have been convicted of minor crimes or have had charges against them dropped, she said. One of the nation’s largest counties — Nassau County, N.Y., on Long Island — was also listed as noncooperative in the first report. But the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department said it was one of the first localities in the nation to agree to accept administrative warrants from the agency. Officials there said ICE had apologized for including the county in its initial report.

ICE also apologized to Franklin County, Pa., for including it on a list of the top 10 noncompliant jurisdictions. The county said it had been erroneously placed on the list even though it provides reports on prisoners to ICE and grants the agency access to inmates for interviews.
Stephen Ritchey, assistant director at ICE’s office in York, Pa., wrote, “On a personal note, I would like to apologize for the unwarranted attention this issue has placed on you and your staff.”

In Minnesota, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office called the report “incorrect in many ways” and also demanded an apology from ICE officials."