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Trump publishes list of alleged crimes by immigrants: the majority are Latinos who haven’t been convicted

The government published the first of a new weekly list that shames local jurisdictions that have refused to transfer undocumented criminals to federal immigration detention.
20 Mar 2017 – 04:44 PM EDT
An ICE detention in Los Angeles Crédito: John Moore/Getty Images

Donald Trump's government published for the first time Monday a list highlighting the nationalities of immigrants who were charged or convicted of crimes but were released by local authorities.

The report puts pressure on so-called sanctuary cities, highlighting jurisdictions that release immigrants who might be subject to deportation instead of transferring them into the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The report, called the " Weekly and Declined Detainer Outcome Report," lists 206 declined “detainers,” or immigrants who were marked by ICE for possible deportation but who were released by law enforcement between January 28, 2017, and February 3, 2017. That’s out of a total 3,083 detainers issued throughout the country during that same period.

ICE requests that law enforcement hold these individuals for 48 hours before being released in order “to allow DHS to assume custody for removal purposes.”

Nearly 70 percent of the immigrants on the list are from Mexico. More than 95 percent are from Latin American countries, according to a Univision analysis of the data. After Mexico, Honduras is the most frequent country of origin. The immigration status of detainers is not listed.

Most detainers have only been charged with a crime, not convicted: of the 206 on the list, 116 are pending charges.

Among common criminal charges are domestic violence, driving under the influence of alcohol, assault, robbery and sexual assault. There are also immigrants on the list charged with drug possession, resisting an officer and prostitution.

Texas appears most frequently on the list, with nearly 150 cases of denied detainers in the one-week period reported. Travis County, Texas, home of the city of Austin, accounted for 142 (nearly 70 percent) of those charged with crimes and released.

On Monday, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott called the report “deeply disturbing” and highlighted the “urgent need for a statewide sanctuary city ban in Texas.”

Last month, Abbott pulled state funding for Travis County programs after Sheriff Sally Hernandez, a Democrat, said that she would only honor detainer requests from ICE agents on a limited basis, as reported by The Texas Tribune.

“Texas will act to put an end to sanctuary policies that put the lives of our citizens at risk,” Abbott wrote in a statement Monday.

Other jurisdictions listed in the report are in California, Colorado, Florida, New York, Oregon, Virginia and Washington, among others.

The list is a product of Trump’s Executive Order 13768, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which instructed the ICE Director to make this report public.

Lilia Velásquez, an associate professor of law at the University of California at San Diego, told Univision that the federal government is not breaking any law by publishing the list.

"It has the right to do so,” says the lawyer, who has worked in immigration law for more than 25 years. “Looking for them is a priority especially if they are people who pose a threat to public and national security.”

The risks, she adds, are when people are detained without trial, and when there is no due process.

In Los Angeles, the list’s publication set off alarm bells. "It's very bad news," said Juan José Gutiérrez, executive director of Movimiento Latino USA.

"We are confident that our state of California will not collaborate with the federal government in the search for undocumented immigrants, but we will not object in the case that an immigrant has a serious criminal record and represents a threat to the nation's security," he added.

In Seattle, Washington, concerns are similar. "The city and state authorities should prevent the government from using Program 287(g) to make deals with local police and arrest undocumented immigrants," says Mary Mora, director of communications for Latino Advocacy.

That program consists of a formal agreement between local law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security, on which ICE depends. Donald Trump wants to expand the program.

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