The Trump administration on Monday released a list of jails that declined to hold undocumented immigrants at the request of federal authorities, a rundown that includes a Sacramento facility.
According to the document, an inmate at the Sacramento County Jail was released Feb. 2 after Immigration and Customs Enforcement had requested that person be placed on what is called a “detainer” for up to 48 hours. ICE typically requests detainers so agents can take custody of inmates arrested on criminal charges whom they plan to deport.
It is unclear which local law enforcement agency arrested the unnamed individual. ICE said the suspect was from Guatemala and had been convicted of a “cruelty toward wife” charge.
A spokesman for the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, which operates the jail, said he could not provide more details because the department does not keep track of detainer requests.
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In a news release, ICE said it would issue similar reports each week “to highlight jurisdictions that choose not to cooperate with ICE detainers or requests for notification, therefore potentially endangering Americans.”
The reports are being generated as part of the Trump administration’s ongoing criticism of so-called “sanctuary cities” that do not assist federal authorities in enforcing immigration law. Trump has threatened to strip federal funding from cities and states that do not cooperate with immigration authorities.
Some law enforcement leaders, however, argue it is not their role to enforce federal immigration law, and that doing so would erode trust within communities leading to fewer people reporting crimes and acting as witnesses.
The weekly list is part of Trump’s Jan. 25 executive order on immigration enforcement that also includes the hiring of thousands of border agents and the construction of a wall along the nation’s border with Mexico.
It was unclear if Monday’s list, which covered the period between Jan. 28 and Feb. 3, was a full accounting of every detainer request denied by local law enforcement agencies during that time. More than two-thirds of the individuals included in the document were released from Travis County, Texas, where the local sheriff has been an outspoken critic of Trump’s hard line on immigration.
The Sacramento suspect was one of 11 released from California jails.
The Sacramento Sheriff’s Department has said it does not share immigration status of inmates with federal authorities. In a Jan. 25 statement to the media, Sheriff Scott Jones said “no inmate is kept any longer than they otherwise would be because of a detainer. The detainers do not ‘hold’ an inmate in custody in any way.”
Still, Jones’ department works with ICE “for tracking and statistical purposes,” the statement said. The department allows ICE agents to access its jails, and agents “are regularly inside our facilities for this purpose.”
Jones has been critical of legislative attempts at the state Capitol to prohibit local agencies from cooperating with immigration authorities, saying he thinks “federal law reigns supreme.”