NDLON in the News

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TRUST is the next step – La Opinion

This week, online California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a legal directive indicating that it is not compulsory for local law enforcement agencies to hold a detainee just because it is required by federal immigration authorities. Harris said that every police department must decide on its own whether to comply with the so-called detainers. These detainers are requests to hold someone beyond what criminal laws require, so that ICE may determine if immigration laws have been broken. There are several reasons why the decision Harris made is a step in the right direction. First, it validates the concern of many police chiefs and civil rights advocates that the Se Communities program not only does not fulfill its own objectives. In practice, it also has turned out to be damaging in several ways: creating fear of police in immigrant communities, having local governments foot the bill for detention expenses for an activity that is essentially federal and giving rise to civil rights..


Ice Holds Are Optional, CA Attorney General Harris Says

California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris told local law enforcement agencies Tuesday that they were not obligated to comply with a federal program whose stated goal is to deport illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes. It was Harris’ first public assessment of Se Communities. Under the program launched in 2008, all arrestees’ fingerprints are sent to immigration officials, who may ask police and sheriff’s departments to hold suspects for up to 48 hours after their scheduled release so they can be transferred to federal custody. Although the intent may have been to improve public safety, Harris said that a review of data from March through June showed that 28% of those targeted for deportation in California as a result were not criminals. Those numbers, she noted, had changed little since U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement a year earlier pledged to reform the program to focus on the most serious offenders. “Se Communities has not held up to what it aspired to be,”


Cali’s Top Cop Says Holding Immigrants is Voluntary – SFGate

California’s top prosecutor said Tuesday it’s up to local police agencies to decide whether to comply with federal government requests to hold illegal immigrants. The statement by state Attorney General Kamala Harris involves the federal Se Communities program, which was launched in 2008 to catch the worst criminal offenders. However, Harris said the effort is flawed because about-one third of people targeted by the requests in California have never committed a serious crime. The Se Communities program checks the immigration status of people who are arrested for any crime, and federal immigration officials have insisted local police agencies must honor all requests for detentions. Harris said her office has received dozens of inquiries from sheriffs and police chiefs confused about whether they must comply and hold detainees for up to 48 hours after they otherwise would have been released.