Counties Sued For Not Ignoring Immigration Detainers

By David Jaroslav | August 2, 2018

In the upside-down world of the open-borders crowd, when local governments and law enforcement agencies actually try to enforce the law, and especially immigration law, that’s grounds for a lawsuit. Within less than a week, the open borders lobby has now sued two more counties for honoring immigration detainers—official requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold illegal aliens in local jails for up to 48 hours after they’re released on local criminal charges so that ICE has time to pick them up and start the removal process.

On July 20, open-borders groups WeCount!, the Florida Immigrant Coalition, and the Community Justice Project, along with the University of Miami Law School’s Immigration Clinic, filed suit against Miami-Dade County, Florida. The lawsuit unsurprisingly alleges a parade of horrible allegations in heated and overblown emotional language: “exorbitant detention costs,” “immediate and dire effects,” “a pervasive environment of fear,” “debilitating impact,” etc., etc.

But the Sunshine State’s most populous county might easily call getting sued over detainers being a victim of its own success. Previously a sanctuary county since at least 2013, Miami-Dade was one of the first and probably the single largest jurisdiction in the country to reverse course in response to the Trump Administration’s commitment to enforcing immigration laws. On January 26, 2017, within days of President Trump’s inauguration, County Mayor Carlos Giménez (R) issued an order reversing the previous sanctuary policy and requiring the county’s corrections department to honor detainers. Despite the predictable protests, the county commission followed the mayor’s lead and on February 17 ratified his order by a vote of 9-3.

In January of this year, Miami-Dade reported it had already turned over 436 people to ICE in about eleven months since the policy change, which is an average of a little over one criminal alien every day. According to the lawsuit itself, that number may since have grown to anywhere between 800 and more than 1,100. Both President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have praised the county for its cooperation and assistance. Yet the plaintiffs would rather see those hundreds of alleged criminal aliens right back out in the community where they can reoffend.

Meanwhile, on July 23, the ACLU sued the sheriff of Teller County, Colorado, population less than 25,000. Their suit is on behalf of Leonardo Canseco Salinas, an illegal alien arrested for multiple misdemeanors, who is being held in the county jail on a detainer lodged by ICE. Just as in Miami-Dade, the suit is littered with emotional language portraying law enforcement as villainous: in particular, it uses the words “threat,” “threats” or “threatening” repeatedly.

But Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell isn’t being bullied. The 19-year law-enforcement veteran says he’ll fight, and pushed back hard in a July 27 statement:

“I am holding criminals. … These people we have detained have committed a series of crimes against United States citizens. They were detained for crimes they perpetrated in our community.”
“I have the authority in Colorado as a Sheriff to protect my community and uphold the peace to the best of my abilities and I will not be dissuaded from that. I will not allow a third party, such as the ACLU, to intervene in the protection of those that I love and the community I care about. This is not political. This is common sense. This is the right thing to do to protect my community."

“... [W]e will not be forced into being a sanctuary county. We are prepared to stand the gap and we will not back down. We will not be swayed by bullying tactics. The ACLU has a tag-line of “today we sued”
“My tagline is, “TODAY WE FIGHT.” We fight for the protection of our community.”

ICE Denver Field Office Director Jeffrey Lynch backed up the sheriff, saying “ICE fully supports Teller County as it has supported ICE ...ICE is hopeful that the county is ultimately successful in its defense against the ACLU lawsuit. The overall safety of our local Colorado communities depends upon it.”

These lawsuits reveal the open-borders crowd at their most arrogant: having failed to convince local officials to adopt their dangerous sanctuary policies by democratic means, now they demand those policies must be imposed by judicial fiat. But at least as long as the courts follow the law, they won’t get their way.