Travis County recently released more than 140 undocumented inmates wanted by feds

Cheryl Sanders
March 21, 2017

The Department of Homeland Security report detailed 206 federal immigration detainers that local entities denied during the week from January 28 to Feb 3. Travis County alone declined 142 of the 206 requests.

In an executive order signed January 25, President Donald Trump said the list is necessary to "better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions".

The vast majority (149) of the declined detainers came from Texas, most notably the Travis City Jail in Travis, Texas.

"Today's report from DHS is deeply disturbing and highlights the urgent need for a statewide sanctuary city ban in Texas".

Separately, that week, ICE issued 3,083 detainers, but it was not yet clear how many of those were honored or declined due to lags in reporting. All of the detainers declined by Travis County on the federal list are dated February 1.

According to the report, the top 10 non-cooperating counties for declined detainers are Clark County, Nevada; Nassau County, New York; Cook County, Illinois; Montgomery County, Iowa; Snohomish County, Washington; Franklin County, New York; Washington County, Oregon; Alachua County, Florida; Franklin County, Iowa; and Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Four of the detainers targeted Mexicans and the fifth listed a Salvadoran.

Abbott promised to put an end to sanctuary policies "that put the lives of our citizens at risk".

Calls to the Travis County Sheriff public information office seeking clarification on the data were not immediately returned.

The administration released a list of 206 cases of immigrants released from custody before federal agents could intervene.

The report named multiple California law enforcement agencies, including a few in Los Angeles County, that had also failed to honor detainers.

The Metropolitan Police Department, which runs the county jail, did not immediately comment on the report.

In an analysis of the DHS memos, the Tahirih Justice Center, a nonprofit serving immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence, said that [DHS Secretary John] Kelly's directives appeared to rescind an ICE guidance issued in 2011 that protected immigrant victims of domestic violence and other crimes. There is also concern that because people may only be charged with a crime and not convicted, they could be deported before the conclusion of a trial. Trump changed those priorities to include undocumented immigrants accused of any crime.

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. Hundreds of local police agencies depend on hundreds of millions of dollars in grants from Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.

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