On May 6th, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced it would roll out a new program that lets local law enforcement officers make arrests and temporarily detain immigrants on behalf of the agency. The new program would allow officers to make such arrests even if local policies prevent them from doing so.
According to a press release, local jurisdictions that choose to join the new program will be exempted from local and state rules that prevent cooperation with immigration arrests or detention. This means officers can carry out arrest warrants that are issued by ICE.
Under the program, ICE will have 48 hours to transfer any immigrant arrested and detained, otherwise, the immigrant will be released.
Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence said the following in a statement:
“Policies that limit cooperation with ICE undermine public safety, prevent the agency from executing its federally mandated mission and increase the risks for officers forced to make at-large arrests in unsecure locations. The [Warrant Service Officer] program will protect communities from criminal aliens who threaten vulnerable populations with violence, drugs and gang activity by allowing partner jurisdictions the flexibility to make immigration arrests in their jail or correctional facility.”
The American Civil Liberties Union issued the following condemnation of the new program:
“The agency explicitly aims to subvert the will of local communities that have passed ordinances to prevent exactly this kind of cooperation between police and ICE. Participants would be forced to carry the financial burden of ICE’s aggression, potentially costing the state millions in operational expenses and legal fees. We urge local law enforcement to resist this dangerous proposal and stand by their commitment to the communities they serve.”
Last month, former acting ICE Director Ronald Vitiello resigned after President Trump said he wanted to move the agency in a “tougher” direction. Trump has since nominated former Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan to be the new head of ICE.