St, Paul, Minn – Earlier today, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek announced that Hennepin will no longer honor immigration detainers from federal authorities that request that a person be held in jail for up to six days after they would otherwise be released. In May, the ACLU-MN sent letters to all Minnesota sheriffs asking them to stop complying with the federal detainer requests because the ACLU believes them to be unconstitutional.
The following statement can be attributed to Charles Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU-MN, regarding Hennepin County's actions:
We are extremely pleased to hear that Hennepin County will no longer be complying with immigration detainer requests.
The practice of holding individuals without a proper legal reason is problematic and we are glad that Hennepin County took the proper steps to correct their actions. An ICE detainer is not a warrant; it is not approved by a judge. It does not mean that there has been a finding about the person's immigration status; in fact many ICE detainers have been issued against US citizens. It does not even mean that ICE has probable cause to believe the person is deportable. Minnesota law does not provide sheriffs any authority to deprive persons of liberty because the federal government suspects they may be subject to civil immigration enforcement.
The decision by the Hennepin County Sheriff's office reflects good judgment that getting involved in immigration enforcement undermines community trust in the police and makes everyone less safe. Local law enforcement's top concerns should be community trust and public safety. Victims and witnesses of crimes should not fear calling the police, but that's what happens when the community fears that contact with law enforcement can be the first step in a seamless transfer to jail and then to immigration proceedings.
We hope that other counties follow Hennepin County's lead and stop honoring these unconstitutional requests.