FAIR Urges ICE Director to Voice Strong Opposition to Anti-Detainer Laws
California and Chicago Expected to Join List of Jurisdictions that Obstruct Immigration Enforcement
(Washington, DC July 18, 2012) In a letter sent this week to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) urged him "to speak out decisively in opposition to the growing number of state and local governments that are refusing to honor" requests from ICE to detain aliens in their custody. The outright refusal of these jurisdictions to transfer custody of aliens to ICE "poses a serious threat to public safety" and impedes "the ability of ICE to carry out its mission and protect the interests and security of the American people," wrote Julie Kirchner, executive director of FAIR.
The state of California and the city of Chicago are both poised to adopt laws which would bar law enforcement from detaining deportable aliens who are in their custody, except under very limited circumstances. San Francisco and Santa Clara Counties in California, and Cook County, Illinois, have already implemented anti-detainer policies.
Under these politically driven policies, local "jails will have no choice but to release these criminals — criminals who have no right to be in the United States — back onto the street," Kirchner wrote. These local decisions affect not only people within those jurisdictions, but nationwide. "Criminals released by one jurisdiction can, and often do, victimize people in other parts of the country," she noted.
FAIR called upon Director Morton to exercise the full weight of his authority as the nation's chief immigration law enforcement officer by speaking out forcefully against policies that willfully prevent ICE from taking custody of aliens the agency wants to investigate or place in removal proceedings. Such policies are a direct challenge to ICE's authority to remove aliens from the U.S. "As the Director of ICE...your leadership on this issue will no doubt have great influence with local lawmakers," Kirchner urged.
Click here to see the full text of FAIR's letter to Morton.
Kristen Williamson at 202-328-7004 or email@example.com