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ACLU of Nevada calls on Metro to stop honoring ICE detainers, says they constitute warrantless arrest

Mark Hernandez
Mark Hernandez
A woman raises her hand to ask Jacinto Rivera, an officer with Metropolitan Police Department Office of Community Engagement, a question during an immigration outreach enforcement meeting at East Las Vegas Community Center

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada is calling on Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo to stop honoring “detainers” from Immigration and Customs Enforcement in light of a new court ruling on their constitutionality.

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled Sept. 27 that ICE detainers violate the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that arrests must be made with a judicial warrant and probable cause. The ACLU’s letter Friday requested Metro inform the organization by Oct. 25 whether police will stop adhering to the detainers.

"It's time for this practice to stop,” ACLU of Nevada Legal Director Sherrie Royster said in a statement. “Nevada law does not authorize the LVMPD or any other local law enforcement agency to make arrests for civil immigration purposes, and the Constitution protects everyone from unlawful detention."

Detainers are requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for jails to keep people behind bars for longer than they otherwise would be held for the underlying local charges that triggered their arrest. The hold gives ICE agents a chance to take custody of the person in a controlled environment and transfer them to immigration detention and await deportation proceedings.

The ruling imposes a “permanent injunction enjoining ICE from issuing detainers to state and local law enforcement agencies in states where there is no explicit state statute authorizing civil immigration arrests on detainers.”

With this injunction, any detainers sent from the Central District of California — which includes several major Southern California counties including Los Angeles and Orange — to any state without a state statute authorizing arrests for civil immigration are prohibited. Nevada does not currently have a state statute for civil immigration arrests and is no longer able to legally follow ICE detainers, the letter says.

“When LVMPD continues to maintain custody of an individual solely on the basis of an ICE detainer, this act constitutes a new ‘arrest’ under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” Royster wrote in the letter.

While Metro has an agreement with ICE through the 287(g) program, the ACLU argued that the compact does not give the police immunity for holding individuals on ICE detainers because it only authorizes non-federal law enforcement to enforce immigration “to the extent consistent with state and local law.” 

Metro officials did not immediately respond to an after-hours email seeking comment on the situation. 

10-11-19 ACLUNV Demand Letter by Michelle Rindels on Scribd


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