Cooperation between local authorities in California and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has decreased thanks to state law and court decisions. Fortunately, this disastrous cooperation policy, which increased the number of deportations, is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
Therefore, we welcome the decision that the Los Angeles sheriff made to join almost 100 cities and counties in the states of California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. They have rejected the policy allowing them to hold undocumented detainees longer than necessary, in case ICE asks to continue holding them in order to find out if they are deportable.
Generally, the holding period is 48 hours, which is enough time to question its lawfulness. This is what an Oregon federal court did, finding that it was a violation of an undocumented immigrant’s constitutional rights to detain them longer than indicated, exclusively based on his or her immigration status.
At the same time, the TRUST Act approved in California limited law enforcement to complying with a federal detention request only if the individual had been charged with a felony.
All of these positive changes will decrease the deportations of people without criminal records and the splitting of families. In addition, law enforcement can regain the trust of the immigrant community, which it lost because of the Secure Communities program.
We hope that this show of common sense extends to the House of Representatives, where tough anti-immigrant rhetoric seems increasingly disconnected from the reality outside Washington. The Los Angeles sheriff, like leaders of other counties and cities, is outlining a more realistic path on this issue.