In a national sweep of sanctuary cities, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 26 individuals in Washington state on Thursday.
Operation “Safe City” arrested individuals in Seattle, Tukwila, Federal Way, Vancouver, Sedro-Woolley, Auburn, Everett, Kenmore, Burien, Bothell, Lake Stevens, Shoreline and Bay Center.
Nationwide 498 individuals were detained, of which 317 held criminal convictions, 18 were affiliated with gangs, 68 were immigration fugitives, and 105 were previously deported immigrants.
The operation focused on arresting individuals in cities and regions where ICE detainers are not honored.
A detainer is a request that ICE files with local jails and prisons to hold individuals the agency believes it has probable cause to deport from the United States. A detainer allows local police officials to hold an individual for 48 hours, allowing ICE the opportunity to assume custody and begin deportation.
“Sanctuary jurisdictions that do not honor detainers or allow us access to jails and prisons are shielding criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and creating a magnet for illegal immigration,” said ICE Acting Director Tom Homan.
A federal judge in Oregon ruled in 2014 that per the Fourth Amendment detainers was not a sufficient basis for which to jail an individual. Absent a warrant, the judge ruled, detainers could not be used by ICE to secure individuals for deportation.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement public affairs officer Lori Haley said in a statement that "Immigration detainers serve as a legally-authorized request. Pursuant to ICE policy, all ICE detainers are submitted with an accompanying administrative arrest warrant or warrant of removal depending upon the circumstances of the individual case.”