Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents work for the Department of Homeland Security to identify immigrants who are living and working in the United States without the proper documentation and enforce deportation. California’s local law enforcement is not deputized to enforce immigration law. Consequently, a federal judge determined last year that it was not legal for county jail officials to detain undocumented immigrants who had criminal convictions and turn them over to ICE agents.
Only 78 percent of those who were apprehended through this program were eligible to be detained and deported under U.S. immigration law. Opponents of that ICE program, which relied heavily on the cooperation of local officials, are now protesting a new program that would have a similar effect. If the person was convicted of a violent crime, ICE still requests detainment, but on other immigrants, the agency wants jails to provide them only with release information.
Currently, ICE Fugitive Operation teams are staking out and raiding homes to apprehend these people. One man, who recently spent time in Riverside County jail for drug possession, was taken from his family by ICE agents so he could be deported. The federal agents had requested that he be detained at the jail in spite of the recent ruling, but local officials refused.
Programs enforced by ICE must comply with federal and state laws. If you have a question about whether the tactics used to apprehend an immigrant were unconstitutional, an attorney may be able to provide legal advice and assistance in upholding that person’s rights.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Spurned by local law enforcement, ICE stages elaborate immigration raids,” by Kate Linthicum, Aug. 15, 2015