Recognizes complaints of sanctuary cities
“ICE will only seek transfer of individuals in state and local custody in specific, limited circumstances. ICE will only issue a detainer where an individual fits within DHS’s narrower enforcement priorities and ICE has probable cause that the individual is removable,” the agency said in a brochure describing the program. “In many cases, rather than issue a detainer, ICE will instead request notification (at least 48 hours, if possible) of when an individual is to be released. ICE will use this time to determine whether there is probable cause to conclude that the individual is removable.”
ICE Director Sarah R. Saldana told Congress last week that the program is winning converts among police departments that balked at Secure Communities. She said it’s better to cooperate with communities than to be adversaries.
“That’s what we’re working towards, and that’s how we got Los Angeles to say they’d cooperate with us, and Contra Costa as well in California, and we’re working with several other jurisdictions,” she said. “Always best to try to get people to come to the table to discuss matters than to force things down their throats.”
Ms. Saldana ran into trouble this year when she told Congress that she would welcome a law ordering sanctuary cities and counties to cooperate, saying it endangers public safety and her agents’ lives to have some of the illegal immigrant criminals released.
Hours later, after having been contacted by her superiors, Ms. Saldana retracted her statement, saying she didn’t believe it made sense to order locals to cooperate.
Immigrant rights advocates say the Priority Enforcement Program is still a problem because agents can issue detainers, even if they do it less often. The advocates warned that police who comply with the requests are still risking legal problems with the courts.
“PEP creates a trap for unwary local law enforcement agencies, which will be subject to legal liability should they choose to participate,” said Jessica Karp Bansal, litigation director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.