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More cities refuse to honor ICE detainers

New York City will soon join dozens of cities around the country that are refusing to honor requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold immigrants in detention after they come in contact with local law enforcement. These requests are known as "immigration detainers". As the Washington Post's Emily Badger explains,

"The federal government relies on local law enforcement agencies to help identify individuals for deportation. When local police come in contact with suspected immigrants (for reasons ranging from serious offenses to traffic violations), Immigration and Customs Enforcement often issue a detainer, asking local jails and prisons to hold them for 48 hours or more beyond their release to give the feds time to decide if they want to collect and deport them."

Now, about 225 local law enforcement agencies across the country are refusing to comply with these federal requests. Immigration detainers have always angered civil rights advocates. The policy often resulted in immigrants being held for days without a warrant and fostered an environment of racial profiling. Honoring immigration detainers wastes valuable resources that could be better spent elsewhere--like actually solving crime. It also puts local departments in an awkward position. It's hard to build trust in a community if residents are weary of interacting with the police for fear of being turned over to ICE.

Most cities, especially New York, are proud of their immigrant heritage and see their diversity as a strength. Complying with ICE detainers contradicted their core values and commitment to fostering vibrant and diverse cities. It's about time that all cities and states stood up to ICE and defended their residents.

"Why more and more cities are refusing to help the government deport immigrants" by Emily Badger. The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/10/08/why-more-and-more-cities-are-refusing-to-help-the-government-deport-immigrants/

"More jails refuse to hold inmates for federal immigration authorities" by Cindy Carcamo. The LA Times. http://www.latimes.com/nation/immigration/la-na-ff-immigration-holds-20141005-story.html