Sanc­tu­ary city name-and-shame list sus­pended after three weeks

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN DINAN

The Home­land Se­cu­rity Depart­ment sus­pended its sanc­tu­ary city re­port after just three weeks, with of­fi­cials ac­knowl­edg­ing Tues­day that they had goofed on some of the data and needed more time to re­fine the process of fig­ur­ing out who ends up on the name-and-shame list.

The list was or­dered by Pres­i­dent Trump, who in one of his early ex­ec­u­tive or­ders said it would give com­mu­ni­ties a chance to see whether their lo­cal po­lice and sher­iff’s de­part­ments were co­op­er­at­ing with fed­eral agents to re­move dan­ger­ous il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

But the list, main­tained by U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment and of­fi­cially known as the De­clined De­tainer Out­come Re­port, has be­come con­tro­ver­sial as ju­ris­dic­tions stren­u­ously ob­ject to the sanc­tu­ary la­bel. At the same time, res­i­dents in some com­mu­ni­ties were sur­prised that their cities or coun­ties weren’t listed.

Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary John F. Kelly con­cluded that the list wasn’t ready for pub­lic re­lease and im­posed the pause.

“ICE re­mains com­mit­ted to pub­lish­ing the most ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion avail­able re­gard­ing de­clined de­tain­ers

across the coun­try and con­tin­ues to an­a­lyze and re­fine its re­port­ing method­olo­gies. While this anal­y­sis is on­go­ing, the pub­li­ca­tion of the De­clined De­tainer Out­come Re­port (DDOR) will be tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended,” said ICE spokeswoman Sarah Ro­driguez.

Still, of­fi­cials said the list has been a suc­cess by spark­ing frank dis­cus­sions be­tween Home­land Se­cu­rity and com­mu­ni­ties that ICE said didn’t do enough to co­op­er­ate with im­mi­gra­tion agents.

One ad­di­tion last week was Mari­copa County in Ari­zona, where Sher­iff Paul Pen­zone, who un­seated Joe Ar­paio in the Novem­ber elec­tion, made pol­icy changes.

The new sher­iff ditched Mr. Ar­paio’s long-stand­ing prac­tice of “cour­tesy holds” for ICE of­fi­cers after county at­tor­neys warned that they could be break­ing the law by hold­ing some­one be­yond the time re­quired by county or state laws.

After a week of ne­go­ti­a­tions, Sher­iff Pen­zone said ICE of­fi­cers would still be at the jails and al­lowed to screen ev­ery per­son ar­rested.

If of­fi­cers de­cided they wanted pur­sue a de­por­ta­tion, the sher­iff’s depart­ment would no­tify them when the per­son would be re­leased. That gave ICE at least five hours to ar­rive to pick up the per­son, sher­iff’s of­fice spokesman Mark Casey said.

Mr. Casey bris­tled at his county’s list­ing as a sanc­tu­ary city.

“The fact is there are no cities with that des­ig­na­tion in Mari­copa County and none in Ari­zona,” he said.

The latest list, re­leased on April 5, showed 142 ju­ris­dic­tions that ICE de­ter­mined had poli­cies that in some way thwarted co­op­er­a­tion. The pre­vi­ous week had listed 150 ju­ris­dic­tions.

Jes­sica Vaughan, pol­icy stud­ies di­rec­tor at the Cen­ter for Im­mi­gra­tion Stud­ies, said ICE was mak­ing a big mis­take by sus­pend­ing the sanc­tu­ary re­port, which she said gave Amer­i­cans a clearer look at how their lo­cal of­fi­cials were help­ing or hin­der­ing im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment.

“At some point, the ad­min­is­tra­tion is go­ing to have to stand up to the sanc­tu­ar­ies, who will try to un­der­mine them and de­ride them at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity,” she said. “Right now, ICE looks like they are fold­ing at the first peep of crit­i­cism.”

Ms. Vaughan and the cen­ter have for sev­eral years main­tained their own list of sanc­tu­ary ju­ris­dic­tions, and she said she re­ceived the same kinds of com­plaints from com­mu­ni­ties that were listed.

“I sim­ply ex­plained to them why they were on the list. They can choose to change or not — a bunch of them have, in a pos­i­tive way,” she said. “If be­ing listed as a sanc­tu­ary causes peo­ple in the com­mu­nity to com­plain, well, that’s a good thing. They should have to ex­plain them­selves to the pub­lic. That’s called ac­count­abil­ity.”

Mr. Trump has threat­ened to with­hold fed­eral grant money from sanc­tu­ary com­mu­ni­ties, and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions has warned that money paid out in the past could be clawed back.

But the strug­gle over putting to­gether an ac­cu­rate list of sanc­tu­ar­ies un­der­scores the trou­ble the ad­min­is­tra­tion may face in try­ing to with­hold money.

ICE’s weekly re­port was bro­ken into three sec­tions. The first de­tailed the num­ber of new de­tainer re­quests is­sued, and the sec­ond gave the crim­i­nal charges in cases where lo­cal of­fi­cials re­fused to co­op­er­ate. The fi­nal sec­tion was a list of ju­ris­dic­tions that ICE said had poli­cies thwart­ing co­op­er­a­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the first three weeks, only slightly more than 40 per­cent of those with de­clined de­tain­ers had been con­victed of the most no­table charges on their records.

That is a ma­jor change from the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, which gen­er­ally re­quired il­le­gal im­mi­grants to have been con­victed of se­ri­ous charges to be con­sid­ered for de­por­ta­tion.

The re­ports were de­layed by more than a month, mean­ing the Feb. 10 re­port was re­leased on March 29 and the Feb. 17 re­port was re­leased on April 5.

Sanc­tu­ary cities show vary­ing de­grees of ob­struc­tion. Some refuse all com­mu­ni­ca­tions with ICE while oth­ers will com­mu­ni­cate re­lease dates but say they will not hold il­le­gal im­mi­grants any longer than re­quired un­der lo­cal laws.

Both the Obama and Trump ad­min­is­tra­tions have been crit­i­cal of sanc­tu­ar­ies, say­ing they put the com­mu­nity and law en­force­ment at risk by let­ting po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous crim­i­nals back onto the streets.

“It is much safer for all in­volved — the com­mu­nity, law en­force­ment and even the crim­i­nal alien — if ICE of­fi­cers take cus­tody in the con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment of another law en­force­ment agency,” Ms. Ro­driguez said.

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