Southern California counties are joining a national trend, by not honoring immigration hold requests. Federal immigration authorities have been asking sheriff departments around the country to extend the detention, of suspected illegal immigrants, for 48 hours past their lawful release. This extended hold/detention is meant to give Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) more time to verify the inmates immigration status.
According to an article in the Press Enterprise, “Inland: Immigration Holds Stop,” Riverside and San Bernardino have been following the lead of counties around the country in refusing these federal immigration request. Many jurisdictions have questioned the legal ramifications and one Oregon court even went so far as to hold the requests to be unconstitutional. This has prompted the various sheriff and city agencies to worry over their compliance with the “not mandatory” requests.
“Sheriff’s officials in Riverside and San Bernardino counties said they worry the counties would be sued — and liable for damages — if they continue to keep inmates in jail without a judicial warrant.
‘All holds are suspended until there’s a legally binding decision on the legality of detainers,’ said Cpl. Lolita Harper, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s liaison to the Hispanic community.”
Here at The Law Office of Fred Thiagarajah we believe it is not the place of the Sheriffs and counties to enforce immigration polices and they definitely should not violate the 4th amendment to do so. California has already taken the first step in the right direction by passing a law that prohibits the sheriffs from releasing illegal immigrants to ICE’s custody unless they have been convicted of a serious crime or felony. And, this denial of federal immigration requests by the Sheriff’s Department, is a continuation in the right direction by protecting the rights of citizens and immigrants.
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