Mayor Joseph Curtatone on Undocumented Immigrants

By Joe Curtatone

People who get themselves whipped up over undocumented immigrants tend to be fact averse, but it’s important to get the facts out there. For instance, and I make repeated reference to this, there are serious 4th Amendment issues with detaining someone beyond the set period for the offense they’ve committed. Read the attached article to get the full story, but here’s the core of it:
But several sheriffs said their defiance is not rooted in ethical or political opposition but legal concerns. Federal court rulings, including one in Oregon where a judge found that police violated a woman’s constitutional rights by keeping her in jail at ICE’s request, have left California’s law enforcement officials worrying that they could expose themselves to legal troubles for doing the same.
“Sheriffs aren’t going to come close to a Fourth Amendment violation that is going to expose them to liability,” Christianson said.
As you’re probably aware, ICE is now making its version of a naughty list. What’s turning up on it are a lot of county facilities that have never even used the word “sanctuary” and are run by ostensibly conservative, law-and-order officials. Somerville made the list in a general sense for having a sanctuary policy, but so far we don’t have a specific instance ICE finds objectionable (and don’t be surprised if that continues). It’s turning into a friendly fire project for right wing demagogues on this issue, as much of this is happening in their own backyards rather than in sanctuary cities like Somerville.
This is where knowing the law and how the criminal arrest process works would have come in handy. I’ll add that the ICE list is a complete absurdity. Every specific instance listed is a person who got arrested. That means the police got their name and address, took their mug shot and fingerprints, and that individual now has a set court date. More importantly, to compile this list, ICE was transmitted all of this information. If you know what someone looks like, where they live and what their court date is, go pick them up.
There’s no point in yelling about the police who gave ICE everything it needs to locate undocumented criminal offenders. In these instances, the perpetrators have been identified and documented.
So no one’s preventing ICE from doing its job (in fact, it’s being helped), and the instances where ICE can’t get to the jail in time to pick up an offender happen all over and not just in sanctuary cities.
If someone wants to streamline the ICE transfer process as part of a larger immigration reform package, I suspect 100% of everybody will be amenable to that. We’d still need to avoid running afoul of the 4th Amendment, and the 10th (powers not delegated to the federal government fall to the states), but I’m sure there’s room for improvement. The key is doing the immigration reform that can fix the actual problems rather than continuing the nonsensical bashing of cities that negotiate their way through a broken system in legal and common sense fashion.

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