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States and Localities That Limit Compliance with ICE Detainer Requests (Jan 2014)

The Obama Administration has removed a record number of individuals - 1.5 million during the first term alone.  Many deported immigrants come to the attention of ICE through its various partnerships with local law enforcement agencies, including Secure Communities, the Criminal Alien Program, and 287(g).  Through these programs, ICE targets individuals who have come into contact with local and state law enforcement. If ICE has reason to believe that an individual in criminal custody may be removable, it can issue an immigration detainer asking the local law enforcement agency to continue to hold that individual for up to 48 hours to give ICE a chance to place the person into immigration custody – regardless of whether the person was ever convicted of a crime.  Although immigration detainers are merely requests - not mandatory – more often than not local law enforcement agents comply.  The result is the deportation of increasing numbers of often innocent immigrants. According to recently released data, only 14% of the detainers ICE issued in FY 2012 and during the first four months of FY 2013 “target[ed] individuals who pose a serious threat to public safety or national security” while approximately half implicated individuals with “no record of criminal conviction, not even a minor traffic violation.”  

Accompanying the increase in removals is an increase in the number of states and localities that are refusing to do the federal government’s job of enforcing immigration laws.  Among the concerns cited by policymakers are burdens on limited local resources; the undermining of public safety; the destruction of trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities; the separation of families; and the questionable constitutionality of ICE detainers.  Over the past several years, two states, the District of Columbia, at least eight cities, and twelve counties have officially restricted the extent to which law enforcement may continue to detain individuals to hand over to ICE.  These policies range from broad limitations prohibiting local law enforcement from honoring any ICE detainer requests to more narrow measures restricting compliance to cases in which the individual has been convicted of a certain felony or other serious crime.







“Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools” (TRUST) Act

Oct 5, 2013



Jul 19, 2013





City of Berkeley

City Council Policy

Oct 31, 2012

City of Los Angeles

LA Police Department Policy

Dec 11, 2012

City of San Francisco

Board of Supervisors Due Process for All Ordinance

Oct 8, 2013

San Francisco County

San Francisco Sheriff’s Policy

Jun 1, 2011

Santa Clara County

Board of Supervisors Policy

Oct 18, 2011

Sonoma County

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Policy

Jul 20, 2011


District of Columbia


District of Columbia

D.C. Act 19-379

Jun 15, 2012




Miami-Dade County

Board of County Commisioners Resolution

Dec 3, 2013




Champaign County

Sheriff’s Office Policy

Mar 8, 2012

City of Chicago

City Council Ordinance

Sep 12, 2012

Cook County

Cook County Ordinance 11-O-73

Sep 7, 2011




New Orleans Parish

Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office Policy

Aug 14, 2013




Town of Amherst

Town of Amherst Resolution

May 21, 2012


 New Jersey


City of Newark

Police Department Policy

Jul 24, 2013


 New York


New York City

Local Law No. 21

Mar 18, 2013


New Mexico


Town of Mesilla

Board of Trustees Resolution

Sep 9, 2013

San Miguel County

Detention Center Policies and Procedures

Dec 10, 2010

Taos County

Adult Detention Center Policies and Procedures

Jan 4, 2011




Multnomah County

Board of County Commissioners Resolution

Apr 4, 2013




King County

King County Council Ordinance 2013-0285

Dec 2, 2013




 Milwaukee County

 Board of Supervisors Resolution

 June 4, 2012

[1] Similar legislation was introduced this year in Florida, Massachusetts, and Washington but has not yet passed.

For an overview of collaboration between ICE and local law enforcement agencies through the Criminal Alien Program, 287(g) partnerships, and Secure Communities and the use of ICE detainers to identify potentially deportable individuals in state or local custody, please see the recording of CLINIC’s November 8, 2013 Webinar: Recent Trends in State and Local Immigration Enforcement.  In addition, you can find strategies to advocate against the implementation and continuation of these programs in your community in CLINIC’s Toolkit for Communities to Advocate Against ICE Partnerships with Local Law Enforcement Agencies.


This summary was prepared in December 2013 for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For questions, please contact CLINIC’s State & Local Advocacy Attorney Jen Riddle at or (301) 565-4807. 

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