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Local authorities listed in ICE list of agencies that don't hold immigrants for deportation

FILE PHTOO: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are issuing weekly reports on local agencies that they say have turned down requests to hold unauthorized immigrants for deportation.
FILE PHTOO: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are issuing weekly reports on local agencies that they say have turned down requests to hold unauthorized immigrants for deportation.
Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/AP

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The Trump administration has begun releasing weekly lists of city and county authorities who don’t automatically turn over immigrants to federal agents for deportation when requested.

The first list covering the week from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 includes Los Angeles city and Los Angeles County jails. According to federal officials, the jails rejected requests and released five immigrants who had convictions for assault, domestic violence and arson.

Los Angeles police and sheriff's departments abide by what is known as the Trust Act, a 2014 law that limits who can be detained for federal agents to serious offenders. Other individuals who serve out their terms or for other reasons can no longer be held are normally released.

Both agencies have argued the limits help built trust with immigrant communities, leading to better policing and investigation of crimes.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have regularly requested local authorities to hold immigrants living in the country illegally beyond their normal release date in order to facilitate their deportation. The ICE requests, called "detainers," are not uniformly honored across the country.

As the Trump administration ramps up its stricter immigration enforcement efforts, local governments — many in California — have adopted policies to protect unauthorized immigrants, earning them the title of "sanctuaries." President Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding from such jurisdictions that do not cooperate with immigration officials.

Late Monday, ICE said it issued 3,083 immigration detainers during the last week in January and early February. In 206 cases, local authorities turned down these requests, releasing individuals when it was time to let them go.

Three individuals were released from Los Angles city jails and two from L.A. County jails. Of these, two had been convicted of assault, two had domestic violence convictions, and one had a arson conviction, according to the ICE list.

AP reported that several city officials and sheriffs nationwide criticized the list, saying it includes wrong or misleading information about recent arrests of immigrants or local jail policies.

Immigration officials say the list isn’t comprehensive and that these are just the cases they know about. 

Chris Newman of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network in Los Angeles supports the limits placed on detainers by L.A. authorities. He sees the Trump administration’s list as a strong-arm tactic.

“I think they are using this to bully local law enforcement agencies into joining the Trump deportation force," he said.

Others, like former San Diego U.S. attorney Peter Nunez, thinks the ICE list is a good idea since it lets the community know of the releases.

“Once the people in some communities find out what their local law enforcement are doing, there will hopefully be a reaction to that, and they’ll try something to try to influence local officials to come to their senses," Nunez said.

Immigration detainers are not limited to people with convictions. According to ICE, people who are in local jails facing criminal charges are also subject to deportation.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had a typo listing the kinds of offenses involved in Los Angeles detainer cases cited by immigration officials. KPCC regrets the error.