Trump administration cites California law enforcement for failing to cooperate in deportation crackdown

The Department of Homeland Security on Monday released the first ever report on law enforcement agencies that are potentially “endangering Americans” by failing to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers and named multiple jurisdictions in California.

The report highlights the looming conflict ahead between the Trump administration, which has vowed to significantly boost deportations of people here illegally, and local law enforcement agencies, which have vowed not to help with deportations.

As part of a Trump administration directive to “highlight” uncooperative police agencies, the weekly “Declined Detainer Outcome Report” lists those that have failed to comply with ICE requests to further detain suspects so they can be processed for possible deportation.

“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect the public safety and carry out its mission,” said Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan.

Monday’s detainer report listed 10 jurisdictions that fail to comply with detainers “on a routine basis.” They are: Clark County, Nev.; Nassau County, N.Y.; Cook County, Ill.; Montgomery County, Iowa; Snohomish County, Wash.; Franklin County, N.Y.; Washington County, Ore.; Alachua County, Fla.; Franklin County, Iowa; and Franklin County, Penn.

The report named multiple California law enforcement agencies, including a few in Los Angeles County, that had also failed to honor detainers.

In a three-day stretch in late January and early February, the L.A. Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department declined detainers for five people with criminal convictions, according to the report.

One suspect had been convicted of arson, two of domestic violence and two of assault, according to the report. Four of the detainers targeted Mexicans and the fifth listed a Salvadoran.

The suspects were being held at LAPD jails in Van Nuys and downtown, as well as the sheriff’s Twin Towers correctional facility downtown.

The other California locations where detainer requests were declined were: the Santa Rita jail in Alameda County; Madera County Department of Corrections; the Anaheim city jail in Orange County; the Sacramento County jail; the Santa Barbara County jail; and the Santa Clara County main jail.

The suspects in those jails had convictions for domestic violence, burglary and forgery, among other crimes. The people ICE sought were natives of Cambodia, Mexico and Guatemala.

“Our goal is to build cooperative, respectful relationships with our law enforcement partners,” Homan said. “We will continue collaborating with them to help ensure that illegal aliens who may pose a threat to our communities are not released onto the streets to potentially harm individuals living within our communities.”

California has been hotbed of opposition to President Trump’s immigration crackdown. Cities across the state have declared themselves “sanctuaries” for those here illegally, and police have expressed fear that if officers help with deportations, those here illegally will no longer cooperate with criminal investigations.

The LAPD prohibits officers from initiating contact with someone solely to determine whether he or she is in the country legally, mandated by a special order signed by then-Chief Daryl Gates in 1979. During Charlie Beck’s tenure as chief, the department stopped turning over people arrested for low-level crimes to federal agents for deportation and moved away from honoring federal requests to detain inmates who might be deportable past their jail terms.

Beck and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti have vowed not to have police get involved in deportation and other ICE business.

Last week, there were also concerns about ICE agents rounding up those here illegally at courthouses.

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye asked the Trump administration Thursday to stop immigration agents from “stalking” California’s courthouses to make arrests.

The chief justice’s letter, prompted by complaints from trial judges, follows a report in The Times about teams of immigration agents — some in uniform, some not — sweeping into courtrooms or lurking outside court complexes in California, Arizona, Texas and Colorado in recent weeks.

Immigration officials say they make arrests in courthouses only when all other options have been exhausted.

In her letter, Cantil-Sakauye called the courts “the main point of contact for millions of the most vulnerable Californians in times of anxiety, stress, and crises in their lives.

“Crime victims, victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, witnesses to crimes who are aiding law enforcement, limited-English speakers, unrepresented litigants, and children and families all come to our courts seeking justice and due process of law,” she wrote.

To read the article in Spanish, click here

joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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UPDATES:

9:50 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details about the California chief justice’s letter to President Trump over immigration agents making arrests at courthouses.

This article was originally published at 11:45 a.m.

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