More Jails Refuse to Hold Inmates for Federal Immigration Authorities

Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2014

Emboldened by recent court rulings, more and more counties and cities across the country are refusing to jail inmates extra days to give federal authorities time to deport them.

In most jails until recently, inmates booked on criminal charges and suspected of being in the country 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 from the United States 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 completely 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.


Currently, more than 225 local law enforcement agencies nationwide have adopted policies to completely ignore requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to hold an inmate for an additional 48 hours after his or her scheduled release date from jail. Another 25 agencies have limited the number of immigration requests they will honor. New York City is among those considering ways to stop or limit holds.

In reaction to the trend, ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa said in a statement that the agency will continue to work with local agencies “to enforce its priorities through the identification and removal of convicted criminals and other public safety threats.”

In March, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pennsylvania ruled that states and local law enforcement agencies had no obligation to comply with immigration hold requests because the requests did not amount to the probable cause required by the Constitution to keep someone in jail. Other courts have come to similar conclusions.


In New Mexico, all county jails are no longer honoring immigration holds, said Grace Philips, general counsel for the New Mexico Assn. of Counties.

Some county officials stopped the practice because they were fearful of exposing themselves to expensive litigation, Philips said. Others saw it as a way of relieving their already overburdened jails, especially because the Department of Homeland Security did not reimburse localities for housing the inmates during the extended stay.


In California, a state law implemented in January–the Trust Act–stipulates that law enforcement agencies can only honor immigration holds if the inmate who is suspected of being in the country illegally has been charged with, or convicted of, a serious offense. Also, most law enforcement agencies in the state–including the Los Angeles Police Department–adopted policies ignoring the immigration holds altogether after the federal rulings came down.

Colorado this year has become the first state to pass a law compelling local agencies to ignore immigration detainers.


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  • AmericanCitizen

    Maybe I’m naive, but I thought Federal Law always takes precedence over a state law. That’s why any state law outlawing abortion is illegal, the SCOTUS in 1972 legalized abortion and that decision can’t be ignored. If the Feds want someone held, doesn’t a state have to comply?

    I understand this is more LibProg garbage, worrying about the Constitutional rights of people who don’t belong here. If you break the law to get here, you shouldn’t be allowed to use it’s loopholes to stay, and you certainly shouldn’t be aided by elected officials.

    • Sick of it

      Only an American citizen has constitutional rights. Now the powers that be don’t follow that way of thinking, but they’ve done everything possibly to degrade and destroy this country.

      • Today in Washington the constitution and laws are only a suggestion. Till we get a real attorney gen I don’t see this changing any time soon.

    • SentryattheGate

      And, for years now, some cities proclaimed themselves “sanctuary cities” w/o any backlash from the feds! It’s infuriating! One of the 4 main duties of the federal gov’t.(Constitution’s Article 4 section 4) is to protect the states and the people from invasion!!! The news in this article should have us jamming the phone lines to Congress, as we did in 2007, when we killed talk of amnesty! Remember, the elections are coming in November, politicians are more likely to listen! We have to counter the La Raza type groups who are pushing their weight around; telling politicians they had BETTER vote for Latino interests!

      • WR_the_realist

        All federal funding should be withheld from sanctuary cities.

        • SentryattheGate

          Of course, withholding funds was proposed years ago, but the key word is SHOULD! Who’s gonna make that happen?

        • mobilebay

          How about withholding funds from the rest of the world? I’m tired of paying for everyone. We send money to oil-rich countries and the only reason I can think of is that we’re buying friendship. They’d be the first to turn on us. As far as sending to the poverty-stricken nations, the leaders get it and the poor never see it. For instance, we pour money into Haiti. I saw it first-hand thirty years ago. It hasn’t changed a bit today. We could wipe out our own debt if we’d quit supporting the rest of the world. Let them stand on their own two feet for a change, especially Mexico. We’ve catered to them for so long, they’ve developed a sense of entitlement like no other, especially as far as sending them billions and then taking care of their people here. We are fools!

    • WR_the_realist

      Actually there are many areas where states have jurisdiction and the federal government doesn’t, but that constitutional distinction was thrown out long ago, as lovers of big government have discovered that it’s much easier to make one federal law than 50 state laws. States may have the option of ignoring hold requests but the blood is on their hands when some of those illegals go on to commit another crime.

    • LHathaway

      Yes, compare this to the federal governments response to integration in the deep south. It didn’t matter what the locals may have wanted, the federal government had to step in and enforce the law. The only constant seems to be forcing integration. When they get more here perhaps they will start forced busing again. It’s really incredibly that program was rolled back, actually. Forced busing seems to be the only government program that’s ever ended.

    • Alexandra1973

      According to the 9th and 10th Amendments–no. It should be the other way around. Federal government is supposed to have a VERY limited role.

  • Immigration law? What immigration law?

    At this point, a “comprehensive immigration reform” bill or an Obama executive order would be redundant.

    • proud white

      QD what is the deal with republicans? Do there support immigration or oppose it? I know BOZO is for it

      • Depends on which ones, whether they’re in the leadership or in the party establishment or not.

      • most in Washington right now fear being labeled as a raciest, and any one who opposes obumer and his lackeys will be labeled as such.

    • propagandaoftruth

      So because of creaking systems or conniving libtard diversican mischief…

      Undocumented future democrats everywhere!

  • They need the jail space for citizens who can pay fine money.
    Its a better business model.

    • Ngati Pakeha

      Is that you Alan B’stard?

  • Simonetta

    I’ve been thinking that it would [might] be a good idea to send illegal Spanish-speaking sin-documentos to Puerto Rico.

    We’ve had this place for 115 years and have never figured out what we could possibly do with it. Well, let it be a giant ‘temporary’ holding area for illegal aliens from Mexico and Central America. Just dump them at the airport and let the locals decide what to do with them. At least they can talk to them (well, most of them, the pre-Columbian Mexi-Mayan language speakers are simply out of luck, but they’ve been that way for 500 years now so they should be used to it by now).

    Puerto Rico’s a relatively big island, so it’s unlikely to tip over from all the new people arriving there. Plus it is an island, which makes it easy to control who comes and goes.

    Oh, how the good liberals will scream when they learn that their beloved ‘newest Americans’ are being dumped into an island far from our shores. But they’ll only be there until their paper work can be properly processed (which could take a while) or until their home governments pay their repatriation airfare (which could take quite a while).
    And we could always claim that they are being acclimated to their ‘new American life’ by living in a sort-of ‘half-way house’, given that PR is as Hispanic as it gets for a place that flies the stars-and-stripes, and (usually) at-least pretends to hold allegiance to the USA.
    Plus the island is big enough for all the new people to grow their own food, so we can just dump ’em there and forget about them.

  • D.B. Cooper

    I say let’s house all of these illegal aliens in Trayvon Martin’s and Michael Brown’s neighborhoods. Let them all enjoy each other.

    • Ngati Pakeha

      Or Zuckerberg and Spielberg’s.

      • Alexandra1973

        Better yet, the (formerly) White House.

        • Ngati Pakeha

          Shouldn’t be too hard these days Alexandra. Evidently they don’t even lock the doors anymore. The Secret Service apparently have morale problems and who can blame them as they’ve now had several crap presidents back-to-back!

  • John Smith

    Between drunk driving and homicide, 25 US citizens are killed every day by illegal aliens.

    Just curious…would it be “mean” for me to wish some of the victims were sons/daughters of politicians and the anti-white media cabal?

    • IstvanIN


  • MekongDelta69

    The endless browning of America continues…

  • A government that deliberately refuses to protect its citizens from criminals is a government that deserves to be overthrown by any means necessary. We don’t have the numbers to do that now, but we can do everything in our power to subvert and sabotage the federal government. I personally like tax avoidance and milking the system by lying to it at every turn. Just remember, you’re not white, I’m not white, we’re all part black or mestizo and we fully deserve our EBT cards and other benefits.

    • My take on this is to eventually live in a RV and pay no taxes or deposits to utility companies.Go to a nice RV park and you won’t see the kin people.

  • TheCogitator

    I cannot understand why the states don’t sue the federal government for the cost of illegals. After all it is the responsibility of the federal government to secure the border and they are failing in that duty. They force the states to educate the illegal children and serve their sick in hospitals that are not reimbursed.

    • IstvanIN

      The courts would probably say the states don’t have “standing”. Just like citizens don’t have “standing” to force the release of Barry Sotero’s birth certificate.

  • George Costanza

    whoa! New Mexico sheltering illegal Mexicans and OTM’s NOO WAYYYYY

    • propagandaoftruth

      Are they sheltering them or just turning them out in hopes they move on up the road and get arrested elsewhere?

  • MBlanc46

    It’s the job of the federal government to keep the illegals out, not of local taxpayers to foot the bill when the feds have failed to meet their responsibilities.

  • “Currently, more than 225 local law enforcement agencies nationwide have adopted policies to completely ignore requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to hold an inmate for an additional 48 hours after his or her scheduled release date from jail.”

    Imagine being more Multicultural Marxist than the Obama administration. Soon governors, mayors and hospital administrators will be demanding a greater share of the foreign Ebola infected.

    • Guest

      It’s interesting to contrast this to the federal governments response to integration in the deep south. It didn’t matter what the locals may have wanted, the federal government had to step in and enforce the law. The only constant seems to be forcing integration.

      • Yes, and now even local governments feel duty bound to step in and break border law or enforce utopian UN refugee resettlement policies.

  • Viking_61

    We need to build a 2 or 3 million man federal gulag in northern Alaska where every single gang banging, welfare breeding degenerate in this country can be sent to die.

    • Alexandra1973

      I thought there was one near Fairbanks, or at least that’s what I’ve heard.

  • mobilebay

    Why hold them? Isn’t it the plan to flood this country with the denizens of every third world country on the planet? And to reduce the white population and gain future voters that will elect a “democrat for life” president? …just like the recently departed Baby Doc?