Searching for sanctuary: An analysis of America’s counties & their voluntary assistance with deportations

Searching for sanctuary: An analysis of America’s counties & their voluntary assistance with deportations

Publicado el 21 de diciembre de 2016
por Lena Graber y Nikki Marquez en Immigrant Legal Resource Center. Fotografía de Steve Pavey
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It is important to note that city-level “sanctuary policies” are not the focus of this report.

The jail-to-deportation pipeline is mostly grounded at the county level, where the civil immigration and criminal legal systems have become increasingly intertwined. Although there are many problems with biased policing against immigrants, ICE regularly operates out of county jails across the country, interrogating inmates in local custody, asking sheriffs to deliver information on immigrants, and requesting that jails hold people at ICE’s convenience.

Thus it is primarily the county’s policy regarding assistance with deportations that governs how immigrants may be profiled and funneled into the deportation pipeline

Given the significance of these county-level policies, this is where we shall focus the bulk of our analysis. Our findings indicate that there are ample and urgent opportunities for counties to take proactive action to preserve their local resources and keep families and communities intact.

Currently, an overwhelming majority of counties are involved in assisting ICE with deportations to varying degrees, all voluntarily. Without enacting stronger county-level policies limiting assistance with deportations, county elected officials and sheriffs knowingly continue to put their residents at risk by keeping their localities enmeshed with the deportation pipeline.

Counties hold tremendous power in making a real difference in keeping families together by providing clear, policybased distinctions between their local responsibility to enforce criminal law and the federal government’s responsibility to enforce civil immigration law. The continuous blurring of those lines puts millions at risk of being unjustly targeted for deportations and destabilizes entire communities.

We strongly urge county and state officials to take immediate steps to adopt or strengthen the policies outlined within this report.

Though sanctuary cities will continue to play an important role, we need more county and states to delineate themselves from federal immigration enforcement and protect their communities.

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Nivel legislativo


Estados Unidos

Tema(s) general(es)

  • Deportación
  • Asilo/Refugio
  • Tema(s) especifico(s)

  • No cooperación con ICE
  • Santuario
  • ICE

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