During a one-week period, Travis County denied the most federal immigration requests of anywhere in the country, according to a report issued Monday, adding more fuel to the debate around sanctuary cities.
"When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE's ability to protect the public safety and carry out its mission", said Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan. On Feb. 1, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez's new ICE policy went into effect: she would only honor federal immigration detainers in cases where someone has been charged with murder, aggravated sexual assault or human smuggling. Between Jan. 28 and February 3 of this year, law enforcement in Clark declined 51 detainers while those in Nassau declined 38.
Clark County, Nev., and Nassau County, N.Y., are the top two on ICE's list.
During that week, ICE issued 3,083 detainers.
"Today's report from DHS is deeply disturbing and highlights the urgent need for a statewide sanctuary city ban in Texas".
Abbott promised to put an end to sanctuary policies "that put the lives of our citizens at risk".
Many of those released by the Travis County Sheriff were charged with violent crimes that make the person ineligible to remain in the United States. Questionable immigration status is not evidence in our state criminal justice system.
"On Monday, March 20, 2017 DHS released their weekly declined detainer outcome report". The individuals listed on the report were arrested in Williamson County and a detainer was placed on all four individuals. Other jurisdictions cite court rulings that have cast doubt on the constitutionality of the detainers. "We will continue collaborating with them to help ensure that illegal aliens who may pose a threat to our communities are not released onto the streets to potentially harm individuals living within our communities".
The report was the first of weekly updates that President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration requires. The majority of the cases, 56%, were people charged with crimes but have not been convicted. Trump changed those priorities to include undocumented immigrants accused of any crime.
Advocates for immigrants say it is unconstitutional for local police to detain someone for a civil deportation proceeding when the judge in their criminal case has ordered them released on bail.
Trump has said he plans to crack down on so-called "sanctuary cities" and other jurisdictions that do not cooperate with immigration authorities and has threatened to eliminate access to some federal grants.
TAP HERE to view the full report from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.