Florida sheriffs make a deal with ICE (video)

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In a bid to support cities and counties that want to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers regarding immigrant detentions, but who fear the legal repercussions of doing so, over a dozen Florida sheriffs have announced a compromise on Wednesday.

The new deal is being called “the Basic Ordering Agreement.” It will allow the sheriffs to legally hold illegal immigrants who are wanted by the federal government for deportation. The Washington Times notes that this deal has the potential to lead to a new strategy for other cities and counties who want to cooperate.

Washington Times: The deal struck between 17 Florida sheriffs and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would allow local authorities to hold illegal immigrants even beyond the time they normally would have to be released based on state or local cases. ICE would like localities to hold illegal immigrants for up to 48 hours beyond their normal release time, giving deportation officers a chance to come collect them. But some judges have ruled that holding people beyond their regular release times violates their constitutional rights.

Under the new agreement, the sheriffs’ departments are deemed to be service providers for the federal government. ICE agrees to pay the sheriffs for holding someone for up to 48 hours, helping cement the federal involvement and answer judges’ concerns. The new agreement’s backers said it solves that problem, using the same model that localities follow when they hold people for the U.S. Marshals Service.

During their announcement, the group of officials shared stories of instances where releasing illegal immigrants resulted in terrible consequences (see video below). They made an impassioned argument for deporting illegal immigrants who come into contact with the law.

Sheriff Bob Guiltier of Pinellas County said that the Wednesday announcement is about “public safety – period.” He continued: “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.”

Guiltier said acting ICE Director Thomas Homan was instrumental in helping to strike the deal, while Homan said the new process “will result in fewer criminal aliens released to the street.”

The Times reports that the Florida agreement is a test, according to ICE, but it hopes it can strike agreements with other jurisdictions around the country.

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