Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Trump suspends weekly immigration reports including New Orleans and cities that "limit cooperation" with feds

Posted By on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 6:00 PM

click to enlarge Protesters in New Orleans march against Trump's immigration orders in January.
  • Protesters in New Orleans march against Trump's immigration orders in January.

Three weeks later, the Trump administration has suspended its weekly reports listing cities and local law enforcement that "limit cooperation" with federal immigration authorities. The reports listed jurisdictions that declined  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers requesting local law enforcement to maintain custody of people living in the country illegally — New Orleans landed on that list for the New Orleans Police Department’s (NOPD) policy to “not honor a detainer without a judicial order or criminal warrant,” according to the report.

The reports aimed to pressure law enforcement and cities with so-called “sanctuary” policies to comply with President Donald Trump’s ramped-up enforcement of immigration actions. But after three reports and complaints of inaccuracy, corrections and clarifications from cities with orders from the Department of Justice that didn’t satisfy new DHS procedure, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suspended the practice, “based on a desire to make sure that we have quality data [and] that the information we’re publishing is as accurate as we can be,” according to DHS spokesman David Lapan, speaking to CNN.

The administration hasn't defined "sanctuary" policy — in its reports, DHS says it "continues to evaluate the appropriate criteria" to define what exactly "sanctuary" policies are.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu stood by NOPD policy and said targeting immigrant communities is likely to diminish trust between them and police, which could prevent people from reporting crimes or testifying as witnesses if they fear police questioning their immigration status. Landrieu also said ICE supported NOPD when the department drafted its immigration policy as part of its federal consent decree with the Department of Justice. "[ICE], which is responsible for enforcing federal immigration laws, never expressed any concern with the NOPD’s policy," Landrieu said last month.

Landrieu also warned that New Orleans “will not not move officers off the street to join President Trump’s deportation force.” According to The Washington Post, Trump “is quickly identifying ways to assemble” that force, part of his multi-pronged campaign trail promise against illegal immigration.

According to the report, based on an internal DHS memo obtained by the Post, the administration hopes to add 33,000 detention beds to house undocumented immigrants, substantially increasing the number of people marked for deportation and potentially expediting their removal from the country. Louisiana’s immigration courts already are backlogged, joining thousands of other cases nationwide, with few resources for representation. Louisiana has several federal detention centers and holding areas for immigration cases, and court dockets tend to move quickly.

As with Trump’s plan for a physical wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, adding staff and bulking up enforcement efforts likely would require significant appropriations and congressional approval.

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