The following findings are included in this chapter to guide in interpretation for clarification in the implementation of the policies herein and to guide in the judicial determinations of compliance with it:
The County of Humboldt (the “County”) is home to persons of diverse racial, ethnic, and national backgrounds, including a large immigrant population which is hereby recognized as integral and vital to the communities of the County. The County respects, upholds, and values equal protection and equal treatment for all of our residents, regardless of immigration status. Undocumented persons pay taxes and therefore are entitled to access County services, including but not limited to protection by the police and firefighters. Undocumented persons are entitled to access all County facilities, including libraries, recreation centers, parks and senior centers. Undocumented persons may choose not to exercise these rights because of a concern that County officials will cooperate with Federal authorities in the investigation of immigration status. It is important that the Board of Supervisors clarify the County’s policy regarding inquiries into and actions based on a person’s immigration status.
Fostering a relationship of trust, respect, and open communication between County employees and County residents is essential to the County’s core mission of ensuring public health, safety, and welfare, and serving the needs of everyone in the community, including immigrants. The purpose of this chapter is to foster respect and trust between law enforcement, County agencies and personnel, and residents, to protect limited local resources, to encourage cooperation between residents and County officials, including especially law enforcement and public health officers and employees, and to ensure community security and due process for all.
The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) is responsible for enforcing the civil immigration laws. ICE’s programs seek to enlist local law enforcement’s voluntary cooperation and assistance in its enforcement efforts. In its descriptions ICE has held and continues to hold the position that all requests under their programs are for voluntary action and that any request is not an authorization to detain persons at the expense of the Federal government. These policies amount to what many critics have referred to as “unfunded mandates” demanding of local jurisdictions that they not only participate in ICE actions, but dedicate money and resources to such ends. The Federal government should not shift the financial burden of Federal civil immigration enforcement, including personnel time and costs relating to notification and detention, onto local law enforcement by requesting that local law enforcement agencies continue detaining persons based on non-mandatory civil immigration detainers or cooperating and assisting with requests to notify ICE that a person will be released from local custody. It is not a wise and effective use of valuable County resources.
Given that civil immigration detainers are issued by immigration officers without judicial oversight, and the regulation authorizing civil immigration detainers provides no minimum standard of proof for their issuance, there are serious questions as to their constitutionality. Unlike criminal warrants, which must be supported by probable cause and issued by a neutral magistrate, there are no such requirements for the issuance of a civil immigration detainer. Several Federal courts have ruled that because civil immigration detainers and other ICE “Notice of Action” documents are issued without probable cause of criminal conduct, they do not meet the Fourth Amendment requirements for State or local law enforcement officials to arrest and hold an individual in custody. (Miranda-Olivares v. Clackamas Co., No. 3:12-cv-02317-ST *17 (D.Or. April 11, 2014) (finding that detention pursuant to an immigration detainer is a seizure that must comport with the Fourth Amendment).
See also Morales v. Chadbourne, 996 F. Supp. 2d 19, 29 (D.R.I. 2014); Villars v. Kubiatowski, No. 12-cv-4586 *10-12 (N.D. Ill. filed May 5, 2014).)
According to Section 287.7 of Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the County is not reimbursed by the Federal government for the costs associated with civil immigration detainers alone. The full cost of responding to a civil immigration detainer can include, but is not limited to, extended detention time, the administrative costs of tracking and responding to detainers, and the legal liability for erroneously holding an individual who is not subject to a civil immigration detainer. Compliance with civil immigration detainers and involvement in civil immigration enforcement diverts limited local resources from programs that are beneficial to the County.
The County seeks to protect public safety, which is founded on trust and cooperation of community residents and local law enforcement. However, civil immigration detainers and notifications regarding release undermine community trust of law enforcement by instilling fear in immigrant communities of coming forward to report crimes and cooperate with local law enforcement agencies. A 2013 study by the University of Illinois, entitled “Insecure Communities: Latino Perceptions of Police Involvement in Immigration Enforcement,” found that at least forty percent (40%) of Latinos surveyed are less likely to provide information to police because they fear exposing themselves, family, or friends to a risk of deportation. Indeed, civil immigration detainers have resulted in the transfer of victims of crime, including domestic violence victims, to ICE.
The County has enacted numerous laws and policies to strengthen communities and to build trust between communities and local law enforcement. Local cooperation and assistance with civil immigration enforcement would undermine community policing strategies.
ICE has used and continues to use forms which request notification from local jails about an individual’s release date prior to his or her release from local custody. As with civil immigration detainers, these notification requests are issued by immigration officers without judicial oversight, thus raising questions about local law enforcement’s liability for constitutional violations if any person is over detained when immigration agents are unable to be present at the time of the person’s release from local custody.
ICE will continue to issue civil immigration detainer requests where local law enforcement officials are willing to respond to the requests, and in instances of “special circumstances,” a term that has yet to be defined by DHS. Despite Federal courts finding civil immigration detainers do not meet Fourth Amendment requirements, local jurisdictions are often unable to confirm whether or not a detention request is supported by probable cause or has been reviewed by a neutral magistrate.
The increase in information-sharing between local law enforcement and immigration officials around the country raises serious concerns about privacy rights. Across the country, including in the California Central Valley, there has been an increase of ICE agents stationed in jails, who often have unrestricted access to jail databases, booking logs, and other documents that contain personal information of all jail inmates.
The County has an interest in ensuring that confidential information collected in the course of carrying out its municipal functions, including but not limited to public health programs and criminal investigations, is not used for unintended purposes that could hamper collection of information vital to those functions. To carry out public health programs, the County must be able to reliably collect confidential information from all residents. To solve crimes and protect the public, local law enforcement depends on the cooperation of all County residents. Information gathering and cooperation may be jeopardized if release of personal information results in a person being taken into immigration custody.
The impact of ICE policies and local cooperation with them is against the interests of the health and safety of every County resident and its many visitors. According to a recent study, seventy percent (70%) of undocumented immigrants and forty percent (40%) of Latinos are less likely to report crime to the police because they feared that police would enforce immigration laws. (Nik Theodore, Insecure Communities: Latino Perceptions of Police Involvement in Immigration Enforcement, University of Illinois at Chicago, May 2013.) Furthermore, individuals who perpetrate domestic violence, trafficking and other forms of violence against immigrants often instill fear of law enforcement to control their victims. (Leslye Orloff & Olivia Garcia, Dynamics of Domestic Violence Experienced by Immigrant Victims, National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project, 2013.) And since undocumented immigrants commonly live in households where at least one (1) member has legal status, U.S. citizens and lawful residents also fear that contacting the police will result in the arrest of a family member.
ICE agents are not police officers. They do not receive the same amount of training and they are not trained in criminal investigations such that local law enforcement is likely to benefit from any joint operations.
According to a report issued by the International Association of Chiefs of Police: State and local law enforcement should not be involved in the enforcement of civil immigration laws since such involvement would likely have a chilling effect on both legal and illegal aliens reporting criminal activity or assisting police in criminal investigations. (“Enforcing Immigration Law: The Role of State, Tribal and Local Law Enforcement”).
In short, cooperation between local agencies and Federal immigration enforcement with regard to the latter is detrimental to the health and safety of all residents.
Keeping local law enforcement out of the deportation business not only allows community members to cooperate with local law enforcement, it also benefits the community at large in other ways.
The Immigration Legal Resource Center, through a Freedom of Information Act request, obtained ICE data and contributed to a report on how sanctuary counties perform across a range of social and economic indicators when compared to non-sanctuary counties. Among the main findings:
On average, thirty-five and one-half percent (35.5%) fewer crimes are committed per ten thousand (10,000) people in sanctuary counties compared to non-sanctuary counties. Median household annual income is, on average, four thousand three hundred fifty-three dollars ($4,353.00) higher in sanctuary counties compared to non-sanctuary counties. The poverty rate is two and three-tenths percent (2.3%) lower, on average, in sanctuary counties compared to non-sanctuary counties. Unemployment is, on average, one and one-tenth percent (1.1%) lower in sanctuary counties compared to non-sanctuary counties.
While the results hold true across sanctuary jurisdictions, the sanctuary counties with the smallest populations see the most pronounced effects.
By keeping out of Federal immigration enforcement, sanctuary counties are keeping families together—and when households remain intact and individuals can continue contributing, thus strengthening local economies and lowering crime. (Tom K. Wong, Center for American Progress, The Effects of Sanctuary Policies on Crime and the Economy).
Sanctuary laws do not prevent undocumented immigrants from being prosecuted for criminal activity, and State and Federal laws address the situation of serious, criminal offenders.
The California Trust Act and SB 54, while prohibiting ICE holds on jail inmates who are otherwise eligible for release, also require that those charged or convicted with serious and violent felonies be held for ICE agents. Crimes added to the list that expose immigrants to deportation include child abuse, gang-related crimes, drug trafficking, weapon sales, using children to sell drugs and aggravated Federal felonies. (California Trust Act, 2014).
Additionally, the same fears herein can deter individuals and families for seeking medical treatment, which can have serious health and safety impacts on everyone residing in the County.
In summary, any County involvement in partnership with ICE through any Joint Law Enforcement Task Force or other arrangement is in contradiction with the values of the County of Humboldt and against its material interests. (Ord. 2618, § 1, 12/11/2018)