DeKalb jail won’t comply with ICE detainers under certain conditions

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that it will no longer comply with certain requests from federal authorities to hold detainees beyond their scheduled release dates so they can face deportation.

Sheriff Jeffrey Mann’s new policy applies to detainers, requests for jails to hold people for an additional 48 hours — excluding weekends and holidays — after they would otherwise be released. This gives U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement time to take custody of them and attempt to deport them.

Mann said his office won’t honor those detainers without a warrant or “sufficient probable cause.” He pointed to federal courts rulings that say jailing people based on these detainers can violate their constitutional rights.

DeKalb is the third Georgia county to adopt such a policy. Last month, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office announced it would no longer comply with ICE detainers. And in September, Fulton County commissioners passed a resolution urging Sheriff Ted Jackson to do the same. More than 100 other jurisdictions have adopted policies or laws limiting compliance with the detainers, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

“The law does not allow us to hold anyone without probable cause,” Mann said in a prepared statement. “If our judicial system determines that an individual should no longer be held in custody, it is not in my authority to countermand that decision.”

Citing the federal court decisions, the Obama administration recently announced ICE officials will instead begin sending jails requests to notify them when wanted inmates are about to be released. ICE, however, could still send jails requests to further detain inmates so long as they have been ordered deported “or there is other sufficient probable cause” showing they are deportable, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a Nov. 20 memo. Those factors, Johnson wrote, would address “the Fourth Amendment concerns raised in recent federal court decisions.”

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