Washington, D.C., will not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, leaving it up to federal immigration officials to determine on their own whether a resident is in the country illegally, reports the Washington Post. The decision by Mayor Vincent Gray reinforces orders by previous mayors but it goes further by explicitly setting standards for how the city's criminal justice system will deal with immigrants.
Under new guidelines, D.C. police and corrections officials will not ask those they come in contact with about their immigration status. District police also will not enforce an ICE detainer or warrant issued against someone who has not committed another crime. Police and jail officials are forbidden from contacting ICE to have the agency investigate the legal status of someone who has been arrested. “What this does is makes clear immigration status is not relevant in a criminal matter and makes clear the District will not take any affirmative step to enforce immigration civil matters,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Paul Quander. Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the D.C. Fraternal Order of Police labor committee, blasted the decision, saying that until now local criminal justice officials were willing to give ICE more than 48 hours to pick up someone it wanted detained. Said Baumann: This is not about regular immigrants. This is about hard-core criminals and bad, bad guys.”