Joseph Montano attempted to clear up the confusion about responsibilities of state and local jurisdictions and the liabilities associated with ICE detainers yesterday, addressing the Central Virginia Regional Meeting of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights in Charlottesville. Cooperation with ICE has the unintended consequence of eroding public safety while redirecting funding from other public functions.
ICE detainers are requests to local law enforcement to hold the person in the request for up to 48 hours. Discretion to enforce those requests rests with local law enforcement. There is no legal requirement to comply with them. But there has been a complete disconnect between federal and local officials.
This morning I was looking up local websites and on the Arlington County website I was looking at their frequently asked questions with detainers. ... on their website there's a question "Can Arlington elect not to honor and immigration detainer issued by ICE?" And the answer to that said "No. All state and local officials are required by federal law to honor ICE detainers." - Joe Montano; Virginia ACLU
ICE detention requests do not provide a basis for retention on their own. They are often issued by a lone ICE officer without due process, without review, and without a judicial warrant. Their sole purpose is to investigate whether a person has committed a civil immigration offense. Detaining a person after they're eligible for release without probable cause is a violation of the 4th Amendment. Further, responding to these requests is fairly expansive. By responding to these requests, local law enforcement is acting as a proxy for federal enforcement without reimbursement for the period until ICE assumes actual custody. Not only does the local jurisdiction assume the burden of that cost, it also assumes liability for potential damages from lawsuits over wrongful imprisonment.
At the organizational meeting a range of immigrant advocacy issues of importance to Virginia's immigrant communities will be discussed:
- Comprehensive Immigration Reform on the Federal Level
- Access to Driver's Licenses
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and In-State Tuition
- ICE Detainers and Local Immigrant Detention Policy
- Other issues of concern
Advanced registration is required. To attend the event held from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM at the Church of the Incarnation Parish Activity Center, 1465 Incarnation Dr, Charlottesville, VA 22901, REGISTER HERE.
The Steering Committee of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR) includes the following organizations:
- Legal Aid Justice Center;
- Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy;
- Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations;
- Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia;
- Virginia New Majority;
- League of United Latin American Citizens;
- American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia;
- Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Policy;
- Shirlington Employment and Education Center;
- National Korean American Service & Education Consortium.
VACIR is organizing advocates and activities throughout Virginia as it works towards its goals. A flyer for the event is available here.