Hennepin Co. Sheriff says ICE report inaccurate, demands apology

- The Hennepin County sheriff’s office wants an apology for what they say is an inaccurate report from the Department of Homeland Security. 

DECLINED DETAINER OUTCOME REPORT

On Monday, the U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement agency released their Declined Detainer Outcome Report highlighting the jurisdictions they claim did not cooperate with ICE detainers or requests for notification.

The report lists two occasions where the Hennepin County Jail reportedly released two individuals before ICE agents could pick them up. Both cases involved individuals from Mexico, one who had been convicted of drug possession and the other who had been charged with possession of a weapon.  

“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect the public safety and carry out its mission,” acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said in a statement.

HENNEPIN COUNTY SAYS REPORT IS "INCORRECT"

The Hennepin County sheriff’s office responded to the report on Tuesday, saying the memo was “incorrect in many ways.”

At a press conference on Thursday, Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek said the sheriff’s did cooperate with the DHS’s request and notified ICE when the inmates were going to be released. He says both inmates were transferred into ICE custody when they were released from the jail.

“Local law enforcement does not enforce federal immigration law," said Stanek. "We have no legal authorization to do so. If ICE wishes a person remain in custody beyond the time he or she is scheduled for release, they must get a court order or they must pick that person at the time of his or her release from the jail.”

Stanek showed several still, time-stamped images from within the jail showing the two inmates being picked up by ICE agents they day they were released.

“Simply put, we believe that the system worked as it should,” Stanek said. “The Hennepin County sheriff’s office worked and cooperated with ICE to keep criminals off the streets while simultaneously ensuring their constitutional rights were upheld.”

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said ICE made a mistake in their report and they should correct it.

“I think the practice of reporting problems in Minnesota, in particular Hennepin County, is just wrong,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said at the press conference. “Now to be fair, we all make mistakes. ICE made a big one here and the sheriff is due an apology.”

ICE RESPONDS TO HENNEPIN COUNTY COMPLAINT

ICE released a statement on Thursday regarding the discrepancies in the report.

“The jurisdictions reflected in ICE's Declined Detainer Outcome Report are jurisdictions that have in the past publicly expressed unwillingness to fully comply with ICE's detainer requests or have not provided ICE with sufficient time to allow for the safe transfer of a detainee,” the statement said.

Arguments over whether or not ICE has the authority to force local law enforcement to hold inmates for federal authorities has been going on for years.

Since 2014, Sheriff Stanek has made it clear he would not be complying with requests from ICE to keep inmates on an ICE hold.

He had Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman's guidance and backing on that decision and several law enforcement agencies across the country have the same stance.

FULL STATEMENT FROM ICE

"When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect the public safety and carry out its mission,” said Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan. “Our goal is to build cooperative, respectful relationships with our law enforcement partners. We will continue collaborating with them to help ensure that illegal aliens who may pose a threat to our communities are not released onto the streets to potentially harm individuals living within our communities.”

"The jurisdictions reflected in ICE’s Declined Detainer Outcome Report (DDOR) are jurisdictions that have – in the past – publicly expressed unwillingness to fully comply with ICE’s detainer requests or have not provided ICE with sufficient time to allow for the safe transfer of a detainee. ICE seeks cooperation from all its law enforcement partners to achieve our mutual goal of protecting public safety. If a law enforcement jurisdiction publicly changes its policies to honor ICE detainers, ICE will revise the DDOR report accordingly.

"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recognizes the value of close working relationships with our state and local law enforcement partners when it comes to our shared public safety mission. Removing criminal aliens who violate federal or state laws leads to safer communities locally and nationwide.  Our dedicated ICE officers routinely go to extraordinary lengths to pick up aliens from state or local custody, as was demonstrated in these two cases.  However, with limited officer resources and significant operational demands frequently spanning vast geographic areas, an immediate response is not always possible, which is why ICE lodges these detainers. A detainer clearly describes the probable-cause basis for ICE’s enforcement action and provides the law enforcement agency with the lawful authority to hold the alien for up to 48 hours to allow ICE the time required to respond and safely transfer custody. 

"ICE values its relationships with our law enforcement partners, and will continue to work cooperatively to achieve our shared mission of maintaining the public safety of our nation’s communities."

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