During his presidential campaign, President Trump promised the American people he would be tough on sanctuary cities by going after their federal funding. This promise morphed into a weekly list of crimes committed by undocumented people to be released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in an attempt to shame sanctuary cities and counties into complying with federal immigration officials.
The list is a requirement under Executive Order 13768, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which was signed by Trump on Jan. 25, 2017. The ICE website claims that the list is intended to keep communities safe from criminals being released back into the communities “where they can commit more crimes and are subject to at-large arrests which may be disruptive to communities.” However, critics of the report have said that they do nothing for safety of U.S. citizens and instead are simply done to shame counties and cities who don’t cooperate with federal immigration orders.
However, after releasing just three lists, ICE has suspended the lists due to several reporting errors and incomplete data. The lists are on pause until ICE can figure out what happened and how to avoid the errors again.
The most outspoken critics of the list are the cities and counties named in the lists, who questioned the accuracy and legitimacy of the information that was provided. According to The New York Times, an immigration official who works for the mayor of New York City called ICE out on saying the city has been uncooperative, which is not the case. According to Nisha Agarwal, the commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, as reported by The New York Times, NYC does cooperate with ICE when they have inmates who have committed violent crimes or are on the terror watch list. NYC does not alert ICE when they have an inmate who has been convicted of a low-level crime or when the charges are dropped.
According to the corrections page on the Decline Detainer Outcome Report, ICE admits that their own data entries were inaccurate and contributed decline detainers to the wrong counties.
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“Due to a data entry error, a detainer issued to Santa Barbara, CA was incorrectly documented by ICE as being declined in the Jan. 28 – Feb 03, 2017 Declined Detainer Outcome Report,” reads the correction on the Declined Detainer Outcome Report.
“Due to a data processing error, the Jan. 28 – Feb 03, 2017 Declined Detainer Outcome Report incorrectly attributed issued detainers to Franklin County, Iowa; Franklin County, New York; Franklin County, Pennsylvania; and Montgomery County, Iowa that were in fact issued to agencies outside of the respective county’s jurisdiction in similarly named locations. Additionally, detainers that appeared as being declined by Williamson County, TX and Bastrop County, TX were cases where the individual was transferred to another facility where they were released. Finally, detainers appeared as being declined by Chester County, PA and Richmond County, NC when those detainers were incorrectly issued to those locations. The subjects of those detainers were in different locations.”
According to Keystone Crossroads, ICE will be releasing more corrections next week for the other reports rather than a new list of crimes. Frank Sharry, the executive director of America’s Voice an immigration rights advocacy group, told USA Today that he isn’t surprised by the mix up in ICE’s data, saying, “As ICE comes under increased scrutiny, people will be shocked to find how incompetent, unaccountable and rogue they are. I think what the (Trump administration) is doing will go down in history as a really dark chapter in American history.”