ICE Detainer Issue Can Put Anaheim Police Between Rock and Hard Place

Anaheim’s listing on the ICE Declined Detainers report illustrates how local police departments get caught in the cross-fire between the Trump Administration’s heightened focus on deporting illegal immigrants and the “resisitance” mentality of California’s ruling progressive Democrats.

Pursuant to President Trumps’ Presidential Executive Order 13768: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, ICE is publishing weekly reports listing local jurisdictions that have declined to honor ICE detainer requests. Anaheim was listed in the first such report, issued earlier this week, reporting a declined detainer request for an individual arrested on January 18 and charged with “burglary”.

This created some confusion to due discrepancies between the arrest and detainer requests dates in the ICE report, and those in Anaheim Police Department records. The closest match the APD could find was a male arrested on January 17 for multiple drug charges and an open warrant (which was for other drug violations, providing false information and possession of burglary tools). The detainer was received after the individual was booked, processed and then transported to the Orange County Jail.

APD was withholding the name of the individual pending confirmation from ICE that the two agencies were talking about the same person. As of today, APD spokesman Sgt. Daron Wyatt said he was unaware of any further communication with ICE.

An ICE detainer requests essentially asks a local jurisdiction to hold onto somebody until ICE can pick them up. Anaheim police policy is to honor detainer requests if they’re accompanied by a warrant or a letter stating ICE has probable cause to believe the individual is involved in a crime.  The ICE detainer in question did neither (and also appears to have been received after the individual has been processed and sent off to the OC Jail).

On one level, this is a tale of a bureaucratic SNAFU miscommunication. But it also shows how local police are caught in the cross-fire between a federal government trying to enforce immigration laws and progressive state government officials doing everything in their power to prevent it.

If the Anaheim PD, for example, honors a detainer request like the one noted in the report – unaccompanied by a warrant or probable cause declaration – it could be sued under the California Trust Act passed in 2014, which fairly well handcuffs local police in terms of exercising discretion when it comes to detainer requests.

At the same time, the “resistance” mentality that animates the Trust Act and legislative lunacy like Sen. Kevin De Leon’s “Sanctuary State” legislation is insane – elevating a radical ideological philosophy of immigration and citizenship above common sense and concern for public safety. Why should state laws protect any criminal illegal immigrant, regardless of how petty their criminal activity is? Why would any elected officials want to impede the deportation of undocumented immigrants who are criminal?

For its part, ICE needs to ensure its detainer requests are accompanied by warrants or probable cause declarations; that would ensure more local jurisdictions would honor them. That, in turn, would ensure more criminal illegal immigrants are deported.  At the same time, it’s vital for local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in the interest of public safety, and to eschew radical approaches like Santa Ana’s rash embrace of sanctuary city status.

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