Hundreds of Cities and Counties Refuse to Cooperate with Obama Deportation Policy

Tuesday, November 04, 2014
(photo: Getty Images)

The number of local governments refusing to play ball with the federal government over deportation of undocumented immigrants has grown substantially in size, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.


It reports that nearly 300 cities and counties have informed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that they won’t cooperate with immigration requests to hold someone for deportation consideration. In addition, officials in three states—California, Colorado and Connecticut—have adopted the same policy of noncompliance, according to Immigrant Legal Resource Center.


In the “detainer” policy, DHS asks local agencies to hold those suspected of being undocumented for two days after they’d otherwise be eligible for release so federal authorities can investigate whether they’re in the country legally.


More than half of the nation’s 22 million immigrants live in the 300 jurisdictions defying DHS. These include the cities of New York, Los Angeles and Miami.


Some jurisdictions have changed their policies to stop immigration detainers after being sued for illegally holding those entitled to be in the country. “We have sued multiple state and local entities for detaining people in violation of the Fourth Amendment and due process clause,” ACLU attorney Jonathan Blazer told Pew. “Each one of those places had policies of complying with detainers at the time they detained the plaintiffs, and all of these jurisdictions have since announced reforms to their detainer practices.”


Some counties with large immigrant populations that do officially comply with the requests include Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston; and Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes Phoenix.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

More Jurisdictions Defying Feds on Deporting Immigrants (by Tim Henderson, Pew Charitable Trusts)

Detainer Policies (Immigrant Legal Resource Center)

Obama Administration Sets Deportation Record (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley, AllGov)

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


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