DHS Designates California and Connecticut as Sanctuary States

Immigration Enforcement
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers / AP
• March 31, 2017 9:40 am


The Department of Homeland Security added the entire states of California and Connecticut to its list of U.S. jurisdictions that hinder cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in detaining illegal immigrants.

Both states had enacted legislation called "Trust Acts," allowing local law enforcement to ignore ICE's requests to detain certain illegal immigrants in custody. However, the legislation maintains that an illegal immigrant would be detained if the individual had a criminal past.

Connecticut honors ICE detainers if an individual is a gang member, convicted of a felony, or is under pending charges, among other things. Since early February, local law enforcement in Connecticut "will not enforce ICE Detainer Requests solely on the basis of a final order of removal, unless accompanied by a judicial warrant, or past criminal conviction, unless the conviction is for a violent felony," according to a Weekly Declined Detainer Outcome report by ICE.

California's Trust Act has a similar but more expansive list of criteria for detaining undocumented immigrants, specifying crimes such as arson, sexual crimes, and violent felonies.

DHS listed the states in a report mandated under President Donald Trump's immigration executive order signed at the end of January. The order directed DHS to release weekly information on cities and counties in the United States that failed to comply with ICE detainers.

The Declined Detainer Outcome Report also includes a list of jurisdictions with policies that hindered cooperation with ICE detainers.

The list, composed of 150 jurisdictions, contained only two states. Many of the jurisdictions were counties, the majority of them from California or Washington, according to a report from the Washington Times.

Six of the ten jurisdictions that ICE named as those that "do not comply with detainers on a routine basis" came from California. Los Angeles and New York City took the top two spots on that list.

The report included jurisdictions that ignored ICE detainers during the week starting on Feb. 4, 2017. These jurisdictions declined a total of 47 detainers during that time period.