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We Have a New Reason Not to Trust ICE

August 29, 2018 in Economics

By David Bier

David Bier

The Trump administration is preparing for another fight in court next month as it attempts
to force “sanctuary cities” to detain people targeted
for deportation. These cities argue that the administration’s
requests would damage the relationships they have built with
immigrant communities. But they have another reason to oppose the
demands: The federal government may be asking them to detain U.S. citizens.

It’s difficult to tell how often such wrongful detention
occurs, since Immigration and Customs Enforcement fails to
adequately record these incidents. But it does happen, as
Ada Morales
in Rhode Island and
Gerardo Gonzalez
in California — both U.S. citizens
— can attest. In both cases, ICE even submitted detainers for
them, then canceled the detainer, and yet still listed in
the cancellation notice that their nationality was not the United
States.

To get a better sense of the problem, the Cato Institute

requested data
at the local level from Travis County, Tex.
— one of the few jurisdictions that record the relevant
details. The county includes Austin and was at the center of the
fight to ban sanctuary cities in the state after Sheriff Sally
Hernandez partially stopped honoring detainers for about eight
months in 2017. The state legislature responded by making it a crime to refuse to honor a
detainer.

States and localities
have every reason to be skeptical about following ICE’s
dictates.

Here’s what the county-level data show: From September
2005 to Aug. 25, 2017, ICE issued 24,269 detainers for people in
Travis County custody. In 228 of those cases — almost 1
percent of the detainers — the person claimed U.S.
citizenship and presented a Social Security number. ICE then
subsequently declined to execute the detainer either by formally
canceling it (as the agency did in 156 cases) or by declining to
execute it when the person came up for release (which happened in
the remaining 72).

The best explanation for this behavior is that ICE verified
their citizenship and decided not to make the arrest, wrongfully
targeting 228 Americans. ICE supervisory detention and deportation
officer John Drane told a court in 2015 that he could think of
only two reasons for canceling a detainer: It was discovered the
person was a legal permanent resident who had never committed a
crime that would make them deportable or they were a U.S.
citizen.

While a 1 percent rate may not seem like much, if it holds
across the state of Texas, it would mean that ICE sought detainers
for at least 3,500 U.S. citizens since 2006. If applied nationally,
it would mean that …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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