ICE Provides Local Police a Workaround for Sanctuary Policies


Washington, DC, United States (VoA) – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a program for federal-local collaboration that would sidestep sanctuary restrictions by delegating arrest powers to local officers.

Under the Warrant Service Officer (WSO) program, announced Monday in Pinellas County on Florida’s Gulf Coast, local law enforcement officers would be allowed to conduct immigration arrests. The new rule would allow local authorities to detain criminal suspects instead of releasing them, giving ICE an extra 48 hours to take them into federal custody.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a civil rights group, said the initiative is “just the latest scheme by ICE to enlist local police in its abusive deportation agenda.”

Lorella Praeli, ACLU deputy political director, said, “The agency explicitly aims to subvert the will of local communities that have passed ordinances to prevent exactly this kind of cooperation between police and ICE.”

According to an ICE statement, “Only one jurisdiction in Florida has agreed to join the program, but others have shown interest and others are expected [to sign up]soon.”

ICE said the new program is a measure to fight “sanctuary cities” across the country. The term sanctuary city is generally applied to cities where local authorities refuse to heed ICE’s detention requests and in some cases refuse to communicate detainee information to ICE entirely.

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