Government Sur-Reply Part 5: The Impact of States That Decline To Honor ICE Immigration Detainers

February 4th, 2015

In the government’s sur-reply in Texas v. United States, the United States made an important concession I had not seen before–the failure of local jurisdictions to honor ICE detainers poses a challenge to immigration enforcement.

Finally, ICE has been challenged by an increasing number of state and local jurisdictions that are declining to honor ICE immigration detainers. Id. at 4. This has meant that ICE has to use additional resources to try to locate, apprehend, and remove criminal aliens who are released by state and local authorities.

The government repeats this point later in its brief.

But Plaintiffs ignore the need to address the challenges DHS confronts in enforcing our immigration laws. As Defendants explained in their Opposition, the need for the 2014 Deferred Action Guidance, which allows DHS to efficiently identify and temporarily set aside aliens who are low priorities for removal, and thus to focus on its top enforcement priorities (threats to public safety, national security risks, and recent border crossers), is especially acute in light of recent demographic shifts in the immigrant population, restrictions on ICE’s use of detainers, the backlog in the immigration courts, and DHS’s limited resources.

Note that the brief is not talking about judicial decisions finding certain detainers invalid under the 4th Amendment. It references “state and local jurisdictions that are declining to honor ICE immigration detainers.”

Even more severe, is that New York has proposed a law that would allow officers to disregard warrants issued by judges, unless it involves a “violent or serious crime.” I argued here and here that such a law would be unconstitutional. But more so, DHS admits that these laws impose “challenges” on immigration enforcement.

In my earlier post, I quipped:

Also, I’m sure the Department of Justice will rush to stop this law–which frustrates federal policy–the way it did with Arizona’s SB 1070.

Now we have an admission that the state and local policies do just that. No law suits have been filed.