More jails move to limit immigration holds

With recent court rulings come initiatives on the part of cities and counties across the nation to limit detention requests for those without American citizenship from the federal government.

In spring 2014, court rulings determined that immigration holds called by the federal government were not mandatory, spurring many localities to stop following such detention requests. With these holds, inmates who were booked on criminal charges and thought to be living in the country illegally can be held for an additional 48 hours under entreaty by the federal government.

According to The New York Times, the City Council of New York City made a proposal in the aftermath of this ruling. It stated that the Correction Department would not honor requests by immigration authorities unless there was also a warrant issues by a federal judge. The proposal also added that an immigrant without American citizenship could only be held if the criminal was convicted of a “violent or serious crime,” whether or not a warrant was issued. Correction Department officers are barred from helping in the holding of immigrants unless the detention requests are valid and approved.

Other localities hopping on board
With New York City taking a stand and laying a precedent for the rights of immigrants, other communities are joining in. As the Los Angeles Times reported, jails across the country are now also refusing to keep inmates the extra days that allow the federal government the time they need to deport them.

In actual fact, some localities began putting limitations on immigration holds years ago, but the new ruling has spurred a nationwide trend of completely ignoring the federal detention requests that have led to thousands of people being deported from the U.S. in the past several years. According to the LA Times, about 250 law enforcement agencies now adopt policies that regulate – and largely ignore – federal detention requests.