Sanctuary City v. Priority Enforcement Program: Pure Politics?

header-hoover-institution-fellows1-1 by Alex Gonzalez

Homeland-Security1Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, says that the will “use fast-track procedures to crack down on “sanctuary” policies for undocumented immigrants if a special session were to be called.” Nevertheless, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) own federal program guidelines clearly state that county jails should:

maintain custody of the priority individual for a period not to exceed 48 hours beyond the time when he or she would have otherwise been released from custody. On this form, ICE must identify the enforcement priority under which the individual falls, as well as the basis for its determination of probable cause.

In other words, unless ICE after reviewing the fingerprint of someone booked at county jail and determined he/she is not in a “priority” list (someone with criminal record or a warrant), that person with no warrants should be release within 48 hours.

 

When SCOTUS ruled again SB1070, ICE send a Memo stating that:

it will not take action when receiving calls from local police unless the person arrested meet priorities for deportation. ICE’s priorities include illegal immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes and those who pose a threat to national security. “ICE will not issue detainers unless they meet priorities”

In The United States v. Arizona, SCOTUS ruled that a states do not have the power to arrest or detain immigrants without a warrant where there is no “probable cause” that the person committed a deportable offense, criminal offenses.

Passing any new bill in Texas creating their own state immigration “detention” guidelines contradicts the federal guidelines and therefore, will trigger federal lawsuits like the ones against SB1070, Georgia and Alabama that were defeated in federal courts and the Supreme Court. In the meantime, this will surely arouse more anti-immigrants sentiment within the GOP who will ultimately blame Obama not “securing the border.” It is a terrible bill, but good politics to foment anti-immigrant feelings and push immigrant further into the shadows. One has to wonder when will conservatives embrace the tenets of “limited governments” again to solve problems and abandon big government solutions.    

Here are the DHS Federal Guidelines:

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) enables DHS to work with state and local law enforcement to take custody of individuals who pose a danger to public safety before those individuals are released into our communities. PEP was established at the direction of DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson in a November 20, 2014 memorandum, entitled Secure Communities, that discontinued the Secure Communities program. PEP focuses on convicted criminals and others who pose a danger to public safety.

How it works

PEP begins at the state and local level when an individual is arrested and booked by a law enforcement officer for a criminal violation and his or her fingerprints are submitted to the FBI for criminal history and warrant checks. This same biometric data is also sent to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) so that ICE can determine whether the individual is a priority for removal, consistent with the DHS enforcement priorities described in Secretary Johnson’s November 20, 2014 Secure Communities memorandum. Under PEP, ICE will seek the transfer of a removable individual when that individual has been convicted of an offense listed under the DHS civil immigration enforcement priorities, has intentionally participated in an organized criminal gang to further the illegal activity of the gang, or poses a danger to national security.

What are DHS’ priorities for removal?

PEP builds upon the enforcement priorities set forth in the November 20, 2014 Memorandum from DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson entitled Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants.

Forms

Under PEP, DHS will no longer use the Form I-247 (Immigration Detainer – Notice of Action) and will instead use two new forms:

  • Form I-247N, Request for Voluntary Notification of Release of Suspected Priority Alien: The Form I-247N requests the receiving local law enforcement agency (LEA) notify ICE of the pending release from custody of a suspected priority removable individual at least 48 hours prior to release, if possible. The Form I-247N does not request or authorize the LEA to hold an individual beyond the point at which he or she would otherwise be released. Additionally, on the Form I-247N, ICE must identify the enforcement priority under which the individual falls.
  • Form I-247D, Immigration Detainer – Request for Voluntary Action: The Form I-247D requests the receiving LEA maintain custody of the priority individual for a period not to exceed 48 hours beyond the time when he or she would have otherwise been released from custody. On this form, ICE must identify the enforcement priority under which the individual falls, as well as the basis for its determination of probable cause. The LEA must also serve a copy of the request on the individual in order for it to take effect.

 

Alex Gonzalez  is a political Analyst and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote!  He   @AlexGonzTXCA

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