Many American cities are ignoring the federal government’s requests to hand over illegal immigrants, claiming that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) detainers that ask local law enforcement agencies to hold violators are creating a financial burden.
ICE can detain immigrants who are booked in local jails if they have committed criminal or immigration offenses that would cause their deportation. Local law enforcement agencies have been asked to hold violators longer so they can be transferred to ICE custody.
Cities as far apart as Miami, San Diego, and Chicago are not cooperating with ICE regarding the requests; last week, the New York City Council passed legislation preventing police from cooperating with ICE to transfer immigrants without a judge-issued warrant. Over 250 municipalities have been balking at the ICE requests in recent years.
Peter L. Markowitz, director of the Karen O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at New York City’s Yeshiva University, commented, “We are seeing something of a national movement here, where cities and states are robustly rejecting the federal government’s mass deportation policies as adverse to their own interests. We see states and cities as frustrated as immigrants themselves with the inability of Congress to enact meaningful immigration reform.”