More Sheriffs are Balking at Helping Obama Administration Jail Noncitizens

Tuesday, July 08, 2014
Sheriffs William Gore and Donny Youngblood (photos: San Diego County and Kern County Sheriff’s Depts.)

Federal immigration officials are losing the support of numerous sheriffs around the United States in their efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.


The change began in Oregon after a federal judge ruled that a local sheriff had illegally held an immigrant woman at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement

(ICE). Other Oregon sheriffs then ceased honoring ICE requests to detain immigrants for 48 hours without probable cause for a criminal violation, known as a detainer.


Subsequently, sheriffs in California, Washington, Minnesota and Kansas followed suit.


“When a judge says something is in violation of the Fourth Amendment, I am not going to just keep doing it,” San Diego County Sheriff William Gore told The New York Times. “If they want to take someone into federal custody, they can decide to do that, but I am not going to keep holding somebody because they ask me to, and nothing more than that.”


That stance is backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “This is a problem with basic civil rights — we do not hold people without due process in this country,” said Jennie Pasquarella, a lawyer with the ACLU of Southern California, which has sent letters warning county sheriffs here to stop honoring the federal immigration detainers. “You cannot deprive someone of liberty without having probable cause to know they could be deported. The local sheriffs all over the state are really recognizing that reality.”


Not all of them are. Sheriff Donny Youngblood of California’s Kern County has continued to honor ICE requests to hold undocumented immigrants.


“If you’re in this country illegally and you commit a crime, you should be deported — that seems so simple to me,” Youngblood said. “If you show not once but multiple times you have no respect for the laws of this country, that’s disturbing. We have an obligation to public safety, and if someone is charged with a serious criminal act and immigration officials want him, I reserve the right to hold that person so that can happen.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Fearing Lawsuits, Sheriffs Balk at U.S. Request to Hold Noncitizens for Extra Time (by Jennifer Medina, New York Times)

Philadelphia Mayor Nutter Orders Police and Prisons to Limit Cooperation with Federal Immigration Agents (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Obama Administration Finally Agrees to Release Information about Immigration Fingerprinting Program (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


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