Clark County No Longer Honoring ICE Holds

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a federal agency in charge of adjudicating immigration violations.  When an individual is arrested and there is an issue with their immigration status, ICE has traditionally issued what had been referred to as an “ICE Hold” or “ICE Warrant.”  In Vancouver, Washington, these holds had allowed ICE 48 hours to transport a local inmate to either Portland’s immigration court or Tacoma.  Even if an inmate bailed out on their local charge, the local jail would still detain them pursuant to the ICE hold.

Recently, a federal judge ruled that Clackamas County violated a woman’s Fourth Amendment rights by detaining her without probable cause.  According to the ruling, these immigration holds are not court orders and local jails and law enforcement do not have the authority to hold an inmate pursuant to these holds because there is no independent probable cause and court order.  Normally, in order for law enforcement to hold an individual on a criminal matter, law enforcement need probable cause of a crime and a judge would have to make an independent determination of probable cause within 48 hours in order to continue detention.  This determination of probable cause is an example of our system of checks and balances, where an independent judge must authorize law enforcement’s detention.

However, what had been occurring according to the recent ruling, was that authorities would make a separate detention based solely on ICE’s faxing of a form, ICE form I-247, to local jails without independent probable cause or judicial review.  As a result of the ruling Oregon Counties have been issuing statements that they will no detain individuals based on ICE holds.  This trend has spread through Washington, with Clark County joining in and not detaining pursuant to these holds.

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