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Counties Drop Illegal Detainer
IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- More than 22 Iowa counties have decided to stop using a policy to temporarily detain suspected illegal immigrants for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE.
The federal agency has had the ability to request that local sheriffs hold already-charged suspects for up to 48 hours, excluding holidays and weekends, in order to investigate their immigration status. A warrant was not needed for this extended holding period.
Several courts across the country have ruled the practice unconstitutional, and holding sheriffs of local jails accountable for violating the detainees rights. The American Civil Liberties Union formally asked the sheriffs of all 99 Iowa counties to discontinue the practice in a recent letter.
In Iowa City, advocates with the Center for Worker Justice have spent more than a year lobbying Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek to stop cooperating with requests for the ICE detainer, said executive director Misty Rebik. There have been several cases where local people have been held in jail after their charges were resolved, Rebik said, citing one man who was kept in jail for four days following his initial jail sentence.
Pulkrabek said dropping the practice was as simple as wanting to remain in compliance with the law. He met with members of ICE before deciding to discontinue the practice, and said the instances where the county has been involved in extended detentions has been rare.
Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner agreed with Pulkrabek, saying Linn County has not seen this situation very often. He also met with ICE and the Linn County attorney's office before decided to end the practice.