Salt Lake Sheriff accused of jailing undocumented workers indefinitely

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is planning a lawsuit against the Salt Lake County sheriff in Utah after an undocumented immigrant was held for more than 48 hours, the recommended detention limit by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Enrique Antonio Uroza, 22, has been released to ICE officials after being in Salt Lake County Jail since June 13, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Sheriff Jim Winder said in federal court that he was only following what the government wanted. He keeps illegal immigrants until a federal judge orders their release or ICE removes the detainers placed on them.

According to Winder, he was following a Utah law from 2008 requiring that sheriffs give a reasonable effort to find out the immigration status of inmates. However, the ACLU argues that the law says nothing about detaining them once that status has been determined.

Utah, like Alabama, Georgia and Arizona, has passed a tough illegal immigration bill forcing police to verify the immigration status for felonies and class A, B and C misdemeanors. The ACLU of Utah and the National Immigration Law Center have called the law unconstitutional, while the Utah Attorney General’s Office has urged a federal judge to allow the state’s law to take effect, according to the Deseret News.