Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez has changed policies on holding immigrants in the Dallas County jail for federal immigration officials once the person is past his or her release date, reports the Dallas Morning News. People who committed minor offenses won't be held for up to an additional 48 hours for agents of U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement. The move follows similar decisions across the U.S., as legal and community pressure builds over the controversial holds. Some 300 counties and cities have officially restricted the extent that they work with ICE, said a count late last year by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.
Others insist that local law enforcement increase its vigilance, particularly after the San Francisco murder in July of a woman by an immigrant who had been deported from the U.S. several times. There had been a federal request to hold him for immigration officials, but he was released after marijuana charges were dropped against him. “No matter what we do, someone is going to get upset,” Valdez said. “We can't base our decisions on who is going to get upset with us. We have to base our decisions on what is best for the whole.” The Dallas County change isn't so extensive as California's Trust Act of 2013, which shields immigrant inmates from federal deportation agents unless they have been convicted of serious crimes, such as assault, sexual abuse or felony DUI. Immigrants lawfully in the U.S. can also face deportation if convicted of certain crimes.