GARDEN CITY, Kansas – Three Kansas counties, Shawnee, Johnson, and Finney, plan on saying no the next time ICE asks them to hold a suspect without a warrant.
It’s pretty simple, when someone is arrested, they’re taken to jail. It gets complicated for local police though, when ICE officials have reason to believe that person could be an illegal immigrant. ICE officials ask local officers to hold on to those suspects until immigration officials can determine if they’re here legally, or not.
“They’d say, ‘oh, hold that person after you have no legal right to hold them under Kansas law and we might come and get them,'” said American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas Doug Bonney.
The ACLU argues that holding people in jail just because you think they might be an illegal immigrant isn’t legal.
“You cannot deny a person their liberty without either a warrant for their arrest or a determination of probable cause for them to be held,” Bonney said.
“For ICE it’s a matter of money, it’s a matter of manpower, and time,” said Social Sciences Professor at Garden City Community College Leonard Rosenbur.
Immigration officials depend on local departments to help in the process, but if those detained individuals end up being legal immigrants or citizens it opens up the government for legal action.
“You’re talking about a lawsuit, not against a person, but against a government establishment, which has a lot of money,” Rosenbur said.
Victims tend to sue local police departments rather than a federal government agency, and that puts local officers in court without a lot of help from ice.
ICE released a statement to KSN, saying they’ll continue to collaborate with local departments to remove illegal immigrants.
In Finney County the Sheriff’s office said it works with ICE, but said continuing to hold suspected illegal immigrants without a warrant or an order for deportation puts officers at risk for violating a detainee’s fourth amendment rights.