Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sheriff Hilkey Suspends ICE Holds

In-Line With Colorado Sheriffs, Hilkey Suspends ICE Holds

Mesa County, Colo. -- It will take time to develop a new policy about the best way to handle, or not handle, illegal immigration holds in our County jail, after an Oregon Federal Court Judge ruled a little over one week ago that inmates without criminal charges can't be held solely on ICE holds or detainers. For now, Sheriff Stan Hilkey has issued a directive in tangent with our Detention Captain, Steve Farlow, to not hold any suspected illegal immigrant in our custody without criminal charged pending.

An ICE hold or detainer is essentially a civil process by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), that was above and beyond criminal charges assessed against a suspect from local, state and/or federal law enforcement. In mid-April 2014, a Federal Court Judge ruled it was a violation of a person's rights to be held solely on the ICE detainer after her criminal sentence was complete. Prior to this court ruling in Oregon, ICE officials routinely had/have local authorities across the country hold inmates suspected of being in the United States illegally, for up to 48 hours. Giving ICE agents time to take those suspected illegal inmates into their federal custody for illegal immigration and deportation to begin.

Many Colorado sheriff's are having dialogue with ICE official about this change in practice, effective immediate in many counties in Colorado (and other states). It is the belief and hope of Sheriff Hilkey and the Detention Command staff in Mesa County, that a new policy will be created that will be adoptable by all sheriff's in Colorado puts us in compliance with the recent ruling and making our agency operations consistent with Colorado Sheriffs, in practice with regard to ICE holds/detainers. It is only realistic that it will take some time to formally address this change in operation in our county jail (and those across the state and nation). 

For the time being, Sheriff Hilkey is active in researching what possibilities and conversations among Colorado sheriffs is taking place, to address this issue proactively and in compliance with laws and court orders. Sheriff Hilkey is also exploring other ways to handle this change with other sheriff's in Colorado, which includes open dialogue with ICE officials. 

Right now, Mesa County Detention Facility has suspended any ICE holds/detainers without criminal charges assessed on a suspected illegal immigrant, in our facility. Stay tuned and remain connected on the updates surrounding this national and controversial issue.