The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa sent out letters to all of Iowa’s 99 counties telling them they could refuse to accept requests from federal immigration authorities to hold potentially illegal immigrants in jail on what are called “detainers” without a court order. The ACLU says it is concerned that some of the people are being held longer than 48 hours.
Twenty-two counties have told the ACLU they won’t hold accept the detainer requests. In Woodbury County in western Iowa, Sheriff Dave Drew says the ACLU’s concerns aren’t an issue. Drew says one of the reasons they aren’t holding them is they don’t have any room. “The other thing is we really haven’t had those issues because the ICE office in Sioux City has always come within 24 hours and taken them” Drew says.
The ACLU claims detainees in some unspecified jails have been held for days or weeks without charges filed against them. Drew says the ACLU first contacted him about six weeks ago, and then again more recently. “And their concern was that they were staying longer than the 48 hours without the judge’s order. I really kind of put it on the back burner, because we hadn’t had those issues. And then we got another letter and a phone call asking us how we were handling it,” Drew says.
Some counties responded to the ACLU that they would continue honoring the detainer requests over liability concerns.
(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)