Judicial Watch Obtains Copies of 204 ICE Illegal Alien ‘Detainer Requests’ Denied by Travis County, Texas Sheriff
Illegal Aliens Protected by Sheriff’s Department Included Inmates Convicted of 34 Acts of Violence, 14 Thefts/Burglaries
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced that it obtained 204 illegal alien Detainer Requests denied to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the Travis County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office. The illegal aliens protected by the Sheriff’s Office were charged or convicted of 31 acts of violence, 14 thefts or burglaries, and three acts or threats of terrorism. Forty-four of the denied requests were for inmates originally detained by Homeland Security and temporarily transferred to Travis County (home to the state capital in Austin) for disposition of state or local charges.
The sanctuary policy, the “Travis County Sheriff’s Office Policy on Cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” limits the extent to which the Sheriff’s Office will cooperate with ICE.
On February 2, 2017, the Austin American-Statesman reported that the Travis County Sheriff’s Office had “declined 196 detention requests” from ICE. Once the ICE detainers were removed, 37 people were released on bail. These inmates may have been able to post bail prior to the new sanctuary policy, “but they would have been released into ICE custody for possible deportation.”
Judicial Watch on February 3 submitted a Public Information Act Request to the sheriff’s office asking for:
- The 196 detention requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Such requests may include Department of Homeland Security Forms I-247N, I-247D or I-247-X; and
- Any records provided to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by the Travis County’s Sheriff’s office that declines the 196 detention requests.
Based on the “Immigration Detainer—Request for Voluntary Action” forms obtained by Judicial Watch, the illegal aliens protected by this sanctuary policy had the following criminal records:
- 58 DWIs;
- 34 acts of violence (assault, aggregated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, etc.);
- 14 thefts/burglaries or other crimes against property;
- 8 drug-possession charges; 6 firearms violations;
- 45 other assorted felonies and misdemeanors (including contempt and failure to appear in court);
- and 35 unlisted or unclassified charges. [NOTE: Totals do not add due to multiple charges/convictions in some instances.]
“These documents provide disturbing evidence of how Travis County’s sanctuary policy protects criminal illegal aliens, many of whom are dangerous felons, from deportation,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Sanctuary policies such as these put the public’s safety at risk.”
Under the new sanctuary policy, the sheriff’s office now honors only select detention requests for inmates charged or convicted of a crime on a narrowly specified list of such crimes as murder and aggravated sexual assault. For all other crimes, ICE must present the sheriff with a warrant or judicial order before the inmate will be detained:
(a) when the detainer request is accompanied by a judicial warrant or court order for continued detention or notification to the extent required by the judicial warrant of court order; or (b) when the individual who is the subject of the ICE detainer request is charged with or has been convicted of the following felonies under Texas law: (1) Capita Murder … (2) Murder – First Degree … (3) Aggravated Sexual Assault … (4) Continuous Smuggling of Persons … A conviction consists of a final entry of adjudication of guilt by a court pursuant to statue and after exhaustion of the appellate process. If a court later (a) vacates the judicial warrant or court order, or (b) the individual’s conviction and/or sentence is overturned, TCSO will decline the ICE detainer request relating to that individual.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott intends to support federal actions against sanctuary policies by signing legislation that could put sheriffs of sanctuary cities in jail. The governor announced $1.5 million in cuts for the county in response to Travis County Sheriff Hernandez’s policy.