A number of counties across California have recently reported that they will no longer abide by immigration hold requests without a court order. Until now, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be able to file detainer requests to county jails, directing them to hold undocumented immigrants past their typical release date. Under the old policy, jails were holding these immigrants for up to an extra 48 hours for ICE.
This change in policy comes after a federal court sitting in a neighboring state determined that these holds violate constitutional rights of detainees. Jails will now only hold undocumented immigrants past their release date if ICE provides an arrest warrant. This decision was made in concert with the California Trust Act, which only allows law enforcement to hold these individuals for ICE if a serious offense has been committed.
Several individuals have been vocal in their support of this change, claiming it is a great step forward in keeping families of immigrants together. They also believe it will reduce the fear of deportation widely felt by undocumented residents. So far, 19 counties across California have stated they will no longer honor hold requests submitted by ICE.
For those facing deportation, a legal defense may be available for deportation proceedings. With the current immigration policies in place, it can take undocumented workers years before they are approved to get proper legal documents to remain in the country. Most try to live under the radar, while working to provide for their families and hoping they will be able to keep their families together. Every small step, like this one taken by a number of California counties, can be considered a victory on the road to immigration reform.
Source: napavalleyregister.com, “Napa jail will no longer honor immigration hold requests“, Kerana Todorov, June 11, 2014