19 May 2017
Detroit, MI

A Michigan sheriff caved to pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ordered his staff to release criminal aliens who are subjects of an immigration detainer. The sheriff instructed his staff to only hold aliens subject to an order signed by a judge.

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon issued the order on April 28, instructing jail officials to no long honor immigration detainers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Associated Press reported on Friday. Wayne County surrounds the city of Detroit, Michigan.

Detroit activist Elena Herrada told reporters the ACLU encouraged the sheriff’s actions. She said other so-called pro-immigrant groups also applied pressure to the local sheriff.

“He was under a lot of pressure from the ACLU and other groups, who met with the sheriff to make that (policy) happen,” Herrada told the Associated Press. “A lot of the (immigrant Wayne County Jail inmates) were picked up on traffic violations.”

Detroit Police Chief James Craig disagreed with the sheriff’s new policy. While he said the sheriff has the right to make his own policies on the matter, he stated, “I don’t agree with violent criminals who are undocumented being released to the community.”

The sheriff’s statement, obtained by the Detroit News, claimed he is taking the action based upon “recent court decisions” about the constitutionality of immigration detainers.

“As such, effective immediately members of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office shall not honor any IDNAs from (ICE), unless one of the following conditions is met: Written Judicial Determination of Probable Cause … or a warrant from a Judicial Officer,” Sheriff Napoleon wrote in the memo.

“Unless one of the two above conditions are met, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office will not honor IDNAs, and members shall not extend custody of an individual (inmate) beyond the original booking and detention periods of the original charge and bail.” He stated.

The sheriff specifically excluded “administrative warrant(s) issued by an ICE official.”

Sheriff Napoleon made no provisions for excluding violent criminals from the policy.

Pro-amnesty groups cite a September 2016 ruling by a federal judge in Illinois that stated immigration officials exceed their authority by issuing detainers without a warrant. The Texas Tribune reported Judge John Z. Lee ruled that detainers were “void” because “immigration detainers issued under ICE’s detention program seek to detain subjects without a warrant — even in the absence of a determination by ICE that the subjects are likely to escape before a warrant can be obtained.”

These same groups ignore a more recent federal ruling in a case brought against Dallas County, Texas. Breitbart Texas reported the Texas Attorney General issued a letter to the Texas Legislature that cites a Marcado v. Dallas County ruling in January 2017. In that ruling, warrants are a “criminal concept” that do not extend to the civil offense of immigration deportation and removal proceedings. The ruling cites a Supreme Court decision in Zadvydas v. Davis where the court ruled that civil detentions are constitutionally permissible under the Immigration and Naturalization Act. “As such, the individualized probable cause ICE has required of detainers since 1985 is sufficient to avoid constitutional problems with jurisdictions,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently signed a law banning sanctuary cities in the state. The new law, effective September 1, provides for civil and criminal penalties for sheriffs and other local law enforcement officials who refuse to honor immigration detainers.

Sheriff Napoleon formerly served as Detroit’s chief of police. In 2013, he ran a failed mayoral campaign, losing to Mike Duggan who still serves in that position.

Immigration officials told the Detroit newspaper they would review the Wayne County sheriff’s new policy and determine what actions to take.