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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Lawmakers to formally introduce Immigration Detainer Enforcement Act

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A bill that would give authority to the arresting law enforcement agency to maintain custody of an illegal immigrant in cases where a detainer has been issued will be formally introduced in Congress this week.

The Immigration Detainer Enforcement Act would clarify the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) detainer authority, would incentivize cooperation between law enforcement agencies and DHS through the reimbursement of certain detention, technology, and litigation-related costs. It allows the federal government to enter into agreements with the arresting law enforcement agency to indemnify these agencies against wrongful detention claims by third parties.

The bill is sponsored by Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), along with U.S. Reps. Dan Bishop (R-NC) and Ted Budd (NC).

The lawmakers said the bill stems from the unwillingness by localities to assist the federal government with its immigration enforcement responsibilities in some cases. Several states and localities, including in North Carolina, have passed legislation that limits cooperation with detainers. Much of this lack of cooperation has been fueled, in part, by recent federal court decisions that have questioned the authority of local law enforcement agencies to maintain custody of an illegal immigrant on an immigration detainer. In North Carolina, some counties have recently implemented sanctuary policies by refusing to honor detainer requests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.