Los Angeles County declines to turn over 25,000 illegal immigrants to ICE, report
County says it doesn't want to release the illegal immigrants over concerns about ICE detention centers and jeopardizing investigations
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has declined to comply with more than 25,000 requests this fiscal year from federal immigration officials to turn over illegal immigrants in its jails.
The data was obtained by Fox News, and the requests were filed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency spokesperson said.
The fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said last week that his department would stop transferring illegal immigrants to ICE officials, citing conditions at federal detention facilities and concerns about deportation interfering with criminal investigations.
"There is no greater threat to public safety than a million undocumented immigrants who are afraid to report crime, out of fear of deportation and having their families torn apart," Villanueva said.
ICE adopted a policy in 2011 that prohibits the start of deportation proceedings on illegal immigrants who are immediate victims of or the witness to a crime.
"As a federal law enforcement agency, ICE supports all individuals reporting crimes regardless of immigration status in the United States," Henry Lucero, the executive associate for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, told the The Washington Examiner. "It's very mind-boggling as a career law enforcement official that someone would implement this policy."