Emboldened by court rulings, more and more counties and cities are refusing to jail inmates extra days to give federal authorities time to deport them, reports the Los Angeles Times. In most jails until recently, inmates booked on criminal charges and suspected of being in the U.S. illegally were often held for an additional 48 hours at the behest of federal immigration officials. These “holds” created a pipeline for the deportation of thousands of people in the last decade. Now, that enforcement tool is crumbling.
Although some localities started limiting the number of immigration holds a few years ago, the trend of ignoring the requests gathered steam this spring after a series of federal court rulings determined that the immigration holds are not mandatory and that local agencies should not be compelled to follow them. “I think there’s momentum,” said Kate Desormeau, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who has helped litigate immigration hold cases. “The more localities recognize that they don’t have to do this — and that it doesn’t make sense for them to do this — makes it easier for other localities sitting on the sidelines to say they’re going to stop treating ICE detainers like warrants.”