Almost 300 Cities, Counties, Three States Limit or Refuse U.S. Detainers


Almost 300 cities and counties plus the states of California, Colorado and Connecticut now are limiting or refusing cooperation with federal “detainers,” or requests from immigration authorities to hold someone for possible deportation, reports Stateline, citing the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, which tracks them. A Stateline comparison of the center's list with U.S. Census data shows that more than half of the nation's 22 million noncitizens live in those jurisdictions, including such immigrant strongholds as New York City, Los Angeles and Miami.

Other areas also with large noncitizen populations, including Houston’s Harris County, Tx., and Maricopa County, Az. (Phoenix), do cooperate, at least officially. New York City was one of the first jurisdictions to question the detainers, said Peter Markowitz of the Immigration Justice Clinic in New York and co-author of a 2011 Berkeley Law School study of the federal Secure Communities program that became the basis for many arguments against detainers. “It's really gone from 0 to 60,” he said about the move to limit or refuse to cooperate. “A few years ago, nobody was doing it, then a few places like Santa Clara County, California, and New York City, and now there's just an explosion,” he says. State and local officials began to balk when they saw that many people were deported even though they had not committed serious crimes.

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