Sheriffs Opting to Release Suspected Illegal Immigrants

Sheriffs increasingly refusing to honor federal requests to detain suspected illegal immigrants
Sheriffs Opting to Release Suspected Illegal Immigrants

by Trevor Hughes | USA Today | May 23, 2014


County sheriffs who run America’s jails are increasingly refusing to honor federal requests to detain suspected illegal immigrants.

In most jails, incoming inmates are fingerprinted and run through a federal system to check their immigration status. The Department of Homeland Security then flags those suspected of being in the country illegally and issues a “detainer” — a form many sheriffs believed was equivalent to a warrant — to hold onto the person until Immigrations and Customs Enforcement can come get them for possible deportation.

But a series of court decisions has made it clear to sheriffs that the detainers are simply requests, and that holding onto people after they’ve finished their sentence or would otherwise be eligible to get bailed out violates the Constitution.

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