In late January, President Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders aimed at at cracking down on undocumented immigrant communities in the United States. Nestled within one of them was an ominous directive to "make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens."
(A "detainer" is a request by ICE for local authorities to keep people in custody for an extra period of time. Essentially, it's a way of keeping undocumented immigrants in jail for a few days longer so they can decide if they want to arrest them.)
Now, for the first time since Trump signed his executive order, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has released its inaugural "Declined Detainer Outcome Report," and promised more to come.
"This report will be issued weekly to highlight jurisdictions that choose not to cooperate with ICE detainers or requests for notification, therefore potentially endangering Americans," a press release accompanying the report announced on Monday.
The DDOR itself covers the time frame between January 28 and February 3 of this year. It is divided into four sections:
Section I: Highest Volume of Detainers Issued to Non-Cooperative Jurisdictions between January 28, 2017, and February 3, 2017
Section II: Jurisdictions with Recorded Declined Detainers Broken Down by Individuals Released between January 28, 2017, and February 3, 2017
Section III: Table of Jurisdictions that have Enacted Policies which Limit Cooperation with ICE
Section IV: Report Scope and Data Fidelity
Inside, the report lists the locations and crimes allegedly committed by undocumented individuals, as well as their country of origin, and the dates upon which ICE requested–and was denied—detainers. It does not include individual names.
In addition to a comprehensive list of all the municipalities which have enacted some form of sanctuary policy, the report also highlights the top 10 sanctuary counties which have the highest number of detainer requests made by the agency.
The White House has long used the specter of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants to rally support for his harsh crackdown on those communities. During the president's first address to a joint session of congress, First Lady Melania Trump was accompanied by the families of three people reportedly killed by undocumented immigrants.
"When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect the public safety and carry out its mission,” Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said in a statement.
However, there's scant evidence to support the assertion that immigrant communities face increased crime rates. In fact, it's just the opposite—immigrants are less likely to break the law than the general population, and immigrant communities often see a decline in violent crime rates.