Cities, sheriffs find flaws in immigration jail list,
Several city officials and sheriffs around the U.S. lashed out Tuesday at a White House report aiming to shame them over what the Trump administration sees as lax immigration policies, saying it includes wrong or misleading information about recent arrests of immigrants or their jail policies.
The pushback was not just from liberal local governments that are at odds with President Donald Trump over immigration crackdowns and his promise to deport “bad dudes” living in the United States illegally. In Texas, the elected Republican sheriff of conservative Williamson County said his jail didn’t refuse four recent immigration detainer requests as claimed.
The list was prompted by an executive order signed by Trump in January that called on the government to document which local jurisdictions aren’t cooperating with federal efforts to find and deport immigrants in the country illegally.
The first list was released Monday, citing 206 examples of immigrants who were said to have been released from custody by local jails despite requests from federal agents. The requests, often called “detainers,” have taken on a greater role in the immigration debate under Trump, who strenuously opposes local policies that grant leniency to people in the country illegally.
Many “sanctuary cities” choose to not honor the requests when immigrants complete their sentences and are released from jail.
City and county officials in Oregon, Rhode Island and Texas either disputed how the report characterized their handling of immigrant arrests, or challenged some of the cases. Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody called the report from U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement “misleading.”
The list was published as some cities and counties are concerned about the administration pulling federal funding over so-called “sanctuary cities,” something the new president has vowed to do.
“They cast a very broad net in who they included in this list. We’re all still trying to figure out what is accomplished by this list, and also how it’s going to be used,” said Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza.
Rhode Island generally doesn’t honor most ICE detainer requests, but Elorza said Providence appeared to have been included over a 2011 nonbinding city resolution that he says wasn’t about detainers.
An ICE spokeswoman didn’t immediately comment on the disputed reports. The agency has already acknowledged some mistakes: Hours after the report was released Monday, ICE corrected 14 rejected detainers in Texas that were mistakenly listed from the Travis County State Jail. That facility is run by the state prison system and not Travis County.