Jails Refuse to Hold Immigrants for Feds


Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at the Dallas Regional Chamber at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on March 16, 2015. (photo: Michael Ainsworth/The Dallas Morning News)
Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at the Dallas Regional Chamber at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on March 16, 2015. (photo: Michael Ainsworth/The Dallas Morning News)

 

Morgan Smith and Jay Root | The Texas Tribune | Reader Supported News | January 18, 2016

ore than 18,000 times over the past two years, local jails across the country have failed to hand over deportable immigrants to federal authorities, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement records obtained by The Texas Tribune.

The largest number by far of what the agency calls “declined detainers” was recorded in California — more than 11,000. Only 146 were recorded in Texas, 12th among all states and representing less than 1 percent of the total, and several county jail officials maintain even that number may be too high.

Detainers are requests from federal immigration authorities for a local jail to hold non-citizen inmates subject to removal — usually booked on crimes unrelated to immigration violations — for up to 48 additional hours so federal officials can take them into custody. In late 2014, the agency began targeting requests at cases involving serious criminal offenders.

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