A spokesperson for the Riverside Sheriff’s Department said they will not place ICE holds on undocumented persons who are suspected of committing minor crimes. The county’s jails are too overcrowded and there just is not room to detain them.
Immigration-rights groups are reported to have been pushing for this type of measure for quite some time. Many of the group’s advocates say it feels the 48-hour ICE hold policy for persons who are believed to be in the country illegally is unfair. Until now, the holds were placed in order to allow the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department to decide whether to initiate deportation proceedings against the detainee upon their release.
The move comes on the heels of last week’s announcement by the California Attorney General, who found that local sheriff’s are not legally required to hold suspected undocumented detainees. It was previously believed that those who failed to place ICE holds on suspected illegal immigrants were in violation of federal law.
Immigration rights advocates say that in the past, many immigrants who were suspected of committing crimes but were never convicted were still detained by ICE and eventually deported. Others say a great number of immigrant crime suspects are taken to jail for no other reason than being unable to provide a valid photo identification card.
Sheriff Stanley Sniff said he is committed to finding a more viable solution to the problem.