Newly-released data suggests Immigration and Customs Enforcement may be relying less on local law enforcement authorities to help them identify deportable immigrants.
When an immigrant is booked into a local jail, ICE can request that law enforcement hold that person up to 48 hours past their normal release time until ICE has a chance to take them into custody.
These requests from ICE fell by an average of 19 percent during the first four months of fiscal year 2013, according to ICE data obtained by Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.
Kate Desormeau, a lawyer with the ACLU Immigrants Rights Project, said one reason for the decline could be the growing number of local jurisdictions refusing to cooperate with these ICE requests.
“Particularly from law enforcement officials who are telling ICE, 'look, we don’t want to do your work for you. We don’t want to be involved in federal civil immigration enforcement,'" Desormeau said.
An ICE spokesperson said in an email that the agency couldn't comment specifically on the TRAC data because it hadn't reviewed the report. However, the statement pointed out, ICE issued new guidelines in December limiting the use of detainers to hold immigrants arrested for petty crimes.
Local jurisdictions that restrict cooperation with ICE include San Francisco and Santa Clara counties in California, Cook County in Illinois, New York City and Washington, D.C.
The California legislature is considering a bill that would limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.
Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill last year.