U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Reps. Dan Bishop, R-9, and Ted Budd, R-13, announced Friday that they will introduce the Immigration Detainer Enforcement Act this week.
The bill will clarify the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s detainer authority; establish the authority of states and localities to maintain custody of an immigrant in cases in which a detainer has been issued; and incentivize cooperation between law enforcement agencies and DHS through the reimbursement of certain detention, technology and litigation costs.
Tillis said he hopes to receive bipartisan support for the bill.
“I think most people realize the common sense of a policy that says if you have someone in jail who has committed a serious crime — not simply the crime of being illegally present, not simply having a removal order — but a serious crime, then please let us work with (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) so we can safely transfer them to an ICE facility and keep our community safer,” Tillis said.
The bill also would:
- Give explicit authority to the arresting federal, state, tribal or local law enforcement agency to maintain custody of an illegal immigrant for a period not to exceed 48 hours to permit assumption of custody by the DHS, upon the issuance of a detainer.
- Allow the federal government to enter into agreements with the arresting agency to indemnify it against wrongful detention claims by third parties that result from a detainer issued without reason to believe the individual is a removable illegal immigrant. Indemnification will not extend to claims relating to negligence or willful misconduct.
- Make jurisdictions ineligible for reimbursement of detention costs if they are certified by the DHS secretary as being incompliant with ICE.
- Provide that jurisdictions are deemed incompliant receive no priority when being considered for funding through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program and when benefitting from the 1033 and 1122 programs.
Bill supporters say several states and localities, including some in North Carolina, have passed ordinances or developed policies significantly limiting cooperation with detainers, which Tillis called reckless sanctuary policies.
In North Carolina, sheriffs in a handful of counties have recently implemented sanctuary policies by refusing to honor detainer requests by ICE.
“The vast majority of sheriffs in North Carolina are cooperating with ICE, but unfortunately some of our most populous are not,” Tillis said.
Budd said there is a real cost to society when states and municipalities don’t work with ICE.
“This bill takes away all the excuses from sanctuary cities,” Budd tweeted. “It’s time for them to cooperate with ICE and keep our communities safe.”