Tampa Bay Sheriffs Sign on to Agreement to Keep Illegal Immigrants in Jail Longer
The agreements will enable local law enforcement to hold illegal immigrants in jail longer so that officers from ICE will be able to pick them up.
TAMPA BAY – Sheriffs from 17 Florida counties have signed onto a new partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that will allow them to keep illegal aliens in jail longer to give ICE officers a chance to pick them up.
The partnerships, officials said, will make communities safer. process is being rolled out with 17 Florida counties but plans are to take it nationwide. Among the Florida sheriffs who have signed on are Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Manatee and Sarasota.
The announcement of the new partnership was made Wednesday (Jan. 17) at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
“This process will result in fewer criminal aliens released to the street. It’s as simple as that,” said ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan. “The stronger our partnerships are with local law enforcement, the better we can execute ICE’s public safety mission and protect our communities.”
The partnership is aimed at illegal immigrants who are arrested and charged for incidents unrelated to their immigration status. Once those immigrants have cleared up their other legal issues, they must be released even if ICE has not been able to send an officer to pick them up. Not releasing them exposes the local jail to possible civil lawsuits.
Under the partnership, sheriffs who have a “basic ordering agreement” with ICE will be able to hold those suspected of being illegal immigrants after they have dealt with their local charges. The BOA would essentially transfer custody of the suspect to ICE, which would pay the jail to house the suspect for up to 48 hours. That would give ICE time to come pick up the suspect.
The fact that they would be held “under the color of federal authority” would relieve local law enforcement of any civil liability for wrongfully holding the suspect.
“Today’s announcement is about public safety – period,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. “For years, sheriffs have had to choose between releasing criminal illegal aliens from their jails back into the community, or exposing themselves to potential civil liability. Both choices are unacceptable and that is why the basic ordering agreement model being unveiled today is the linchpin in allowing us to faithfully execute our public safety duties.”
Jonathan Thompson, CEO and executive director of the National Sheriff’s Association, said, “Today’s agreement makes our communities, neighborhoods – and our nation -safer. Suffering will be reduced, and lives will be saved. The immigration detainer issue has been difficult and challenging. Under this new process, sheriffs holding illegal criminal aliens in their jails and prisons are afforded liability protection from potential litigation when faithfully executing public safety duties.
“America’s more than 3,000 sheriffs across the nation are grateful to the administration, Department of Homeland Security, and the superior leadership of Deputy Director Homan, for listening and working with us to advance and implement this commonsense solution,”
To see a video of the announcement, go to youtube.com.
Pinellas Sheriff | Hillsborough Sheriff | Pasco Sheriff | Hernando Sheriff | Sarasota Sheriff | Manatee Sheriff | Immigration | ICE | Tampabay News
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