The Sheriff Departments of two populous counties in California have decided to stop contributing to the questionable and potentially unconstitutional practice of immigration holds. The Sheriffs of San Francisco and San Diego have issued official press releases announcing that they will no longer honor requests from the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to continue the detention of immigrants whose terms of incarceration have come to an end.
A Refusal that Deserves to be Welcomed
Immigration advocates and constitutional law and immigration attorneys have welcomed the Sheriffs’ decisions, particularly in the case of San Diego County, which has a significant immigrant population. The policy that the San Diego Sheriff has chosen to no longer be a part of consists of executing requests from ICE to keep immigrants incarcerated until federal agents could look at their cases. Legal experts from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) agree on the basis that it adds to the wave of the deportations experienced in the Obama administration; not to mention that such requests also undermine the Fourth Amendment.
Essentially, yielding to ICE requests without a warrant or even a writ of probable cause is unconstitutional. Unfortunately, this practice has often been carried out under the guise of supporting the Patriot Act. After years of rushed deportations and violation of civil rights, jurisdictions such as California are enacting their own legislation to curb the questionable and out-of-control federal enforcement.
Waiting for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Along with San Diego and San Francisco, five other California counties have agreed to stop yielding to ICE requests. Federal agents will be given a report when the immigrant is released, but Sheriff deputies will only hold suspects when there is an ICE arrest warrant on file.
Immigration advocates are also seeing Sheriff Departments in Colorado, Illinois and Oregon declining to honor ICE requests for detainment, which will have a positive reduction on the number of dubious deportations. These decisions underscore the desire of many Americans to see immigration reform passed quickly. In San Francisco, the Sheriff remarked that he does not see how executing ICE detainment requests made communities safer, particularly when no warrants or even probable cause are produced.
If you are looking for immigration services in San Diego or have questions about the current practice of immigration holds, contact KS Visa Law at 858-874-0711 and schedule a free consultation with one of our expert immigration attorneys.