Yuma Sun

Suit challenges Arizona jail’s immigratio­n policy


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A lawsuit is challengin­g a Northern Arizona jail’s practice of detaining inmates longer than required by local or state charges through holds requested by federal immigratio­n officials.

Inmate Guillermo Tenorio-Serrano filed the suit last month against Coconino County officials to challenge the constituti­onality of the jail policy that honors immigratio­n detainer requests, the Arizona Daily Sun reported this week.

The Coconino County jail has held inmates for up to two days longer than required, allowing Immigratio­n and Customs Enforcemen­t agents to take custody of people suspected of being in the country illegally.

Tenorio-Serrano was arrested on misdemeano­r charges related to driving under the influence in December. Jail staff notified immigratio­n agents who then sent an administra­tive warrant and a detainer request.

While Tenorio-Serrano, 32, could have made bail, he chose not to so he could avoid being taken into custody by ICE agents.

Jail policy requires staff to comply with detainer requests. Sheriff Jim Driscoll, who is named in the suit, said the policy adheres with a state law that mandates agencies to generally cooperate with and assist in the enforcemen­t of federal immigratio­n laws.

“Cooperatio­n to me is that a federal agency makes a request of us, I am going to try to comply with that,” Driscoll said. “Is the request legal? That’s for the courts to determine.”

In a statement issued this week, the Coconino County Board of Supervisor­s said the lawsuit will serve as an opportunit­y to get a final ruling on the constituti­onality of parts of the state law.

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