In a recently released media alert, ICE has presented new features to the ICE immigration detainer (Form I-247). Detainer requests are the device ICE uses to request local jails to hold people beyond their local sentence in order for ICE to then pick them up and place them in detention. The new form, and press release, may be in response to the national criticism of their Scomm (Secured Communities) program. Counties such as Santa Clara County and Chicago have lead the charge against ICE’s detainer policies.
The new features may represent positive impact for counties across the United States, if actually enacted. Here in Santa Clara County, the Santa Clara coalition against SCOMM has been working hard in advocating for all immigrants that could be impacted by detainers. We also see the same hard work being done in countless counties across the nation. This new ICE detainer form has potential in shifting who will eventually get deported and who will not in other counties – again depending on how counties and states respond to the announced changes, and how sincere ICE is in these changes. First off, the document does state that the detainer request form is in fact a request. Many county officials across the county did not know that a detainer is an actual request, rather erroneously thinking it was legally mandatory. And in an interestingly worded statement, the press release states that “the new form allows ICE to make the detainer operative only upon the individual’s conviction.” ICE, through SCOMM, currently sends people into detention regardless of conviction or not. Another interesting part of the form is that they have now incorporated a hot-line one could call to lodge a complaint or any issues that one may have with their hold, although I wouldn’t trust a hot-line made by the same department of the government that is trying to work so hard in getting immigrants deported out of. Continue reading