Sunday, April 22, 2012

Travis County Sheriff criticized over optional immigration policy at jail

Travis County ranks 39th among US counties in population but "ranks 11th nationally in the number of people deported from its jails since Secure Communities came online here in June 2009," according to an Austin Statesman report. "Even though ICE says the program prioritizes dangerous criminals, national security threats and repeat immigration law violators, the paper found that more than 1,000 people in Travis County have had detainers placed on them after arrests for traffic violations and other Class C misdemeanors — offenses that typically result in only a fine."

Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton insists that ICE detainers are "mandatory," but the Statesman notes that other counties across the country limit who they tag for deportation:
Officials in several counties that have stopped honoring detainers did so after trying to officially opt out of the Secure Communities program.

ICE initially asked each local jurisdiction to sign "memorandums of understanding" before launching the program, giving local authorities the impression that they could pull out of the agreement.

When several states tried, however, ICE voided those memorandums and indicated the program was mandatory.

Those counties then changed their policies on detainers unilaterally, after ICE officials told them the detainers weren't mandatory.
It was always clear to this correspondent that a) the ICE detainers under Secure Communiteis are not mandatory, even if some nativists and/or federal bureaucrats would like to pretend it is; b) Sheriff Greg Hamilton has chosen to be much more aggressive on detaining low-level offenders for deportation than is required by law; and c) to the extent ICE detainers are mandates, they are unfunded ones with significant consequences for local jails. I'm glad to see Hamilton's primary opponent calling him out on this policy.

See related Grits posts:


Anonymous said...

The question I want answered is of the 1,000 people arrested for traffic violations and other Class C misdemeanors, how many have previous arrests for other violations and no detainer was placed and how many have had previous deportations?

Vote for Greg Hamilton!

Anonymous said...

They are in the country ILLEGALLY, right?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Y'all must really like higher county property taxes!

The Obama Administration may want to impose this unfunded mandate, but if we can't afford it (and we can't) and there's little identifiable public safety benefit, there's no good reason to spend local tax dollars filling a federal role that could easily become a bottomless pit. If it's such a great policy, let them pay for it.

Anonymous said...

The Travis County Sheriff is following the law as he should be. I hope he is not swayed by this BS and is reelected.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"The Travis County Sheriff is following the law as he should be"

No, he's following the law "as he wants to." Hamilton is volunteering my tax dollars for this purpose. These aren't requirements, but an unfunded request from the Obama Administration.

TominAustin said...

3 cheers for the sheeriff in his actions against illegal aliens. While local gvts can't directly enforce fed laws, the least we can do is make it as miserable and uncomfortable as legally possible for the illegals and hope they get the message and go somewhere else heavily populated by libos.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"the least we can do is make it as miserable and uncomfortable as legally possible for the illegals"

Now we get to the heart of it. This isn't about "it's the law," it's about "I want to make these people miserable and run them out of town." Got it.

Anonymous said...

What part of illegal do't you understand Grits? The Sheriff is doing the right thing for the right reasons. IT IS THE LAW!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I'm curious, 10:25, do you feel the same way about this situation?

Anonymous said...

"Y'all must really like higher county property taxes!"

Looks like the Travis County M&O, which elected offficals use for their daily operations, has gone down significantly.

Way to go commissioners and go Sheriff go!

Anonymous said...

"Hamilton is volunteering my tax dollars for this purpose."

Really? Can he volunteer your money? I thought the commissioner's court set the budget for each county elected official.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"Can he volunteer your money? "

Yes he can, by enacting policies that cost more than would otherwise be spent, absolutely.

5:02, I don't know if you actually pay taxes in Travis County, but I do and they go up every year. Those are "rates" but you don't know how much tax is paid unless you apply it to the assessed value, which is not depicted in the table you linked.

Phillip Baker said...

Is there no situation in which the "It's the law" types can be rational? Yes, illegals, by definition, have broken a law to get here. What drew them here, even if it meant breaking the law? JOBS! Family members of mine are almost rabidly against allowing illegals a pass "because they broke the law". Yet those same people could not get their crops planted, cared for and harvested without those same illegals.(And get cheap child care and hose cleaning, to boot) That is the part the pious "it's the law" set likes to forget. These people are here because they can find work and support themselves and often family back home. So since WE lured them here in the first place, I think a little lessening of the accusatory finger pointing is in order. What we really need is comprehensive immigration reform, but that is opposed by the construction, hospitality and agriculture interests on money grounds. Make up your mid "it's the law" folks. If employers break the law by hiring these folks, where is the outrage about that? Since there is none, I'm led to suspect the true basis of all this animated talk is simple racism. The rest is just sham coverings.

Anonymous said...

At what point should he have been deported?

@ juvenile age, arrested for Tampering With A Grave.

As an adult he gets arrested in this order.......

Possession of Marijuana

Unlawful Carrying Weapon

Aggravated Assault W/W Deadly Weapon...gets 5 year probation but no deport yet. How do you get probation when it's illegal to be here in the 1st place?

Now in jail for Possession of Cocaine and Firearm.

First three charges are misdemeanors.

Waiting for your response.