Some Georgia residents may be interested to learn that some local authorities around the country have begun releasing immigrants accused of crimes despite requests from federal authorities to keep them in custody. According to some police and sheriff departments, holding immigrants beyond their intended release date has begun to hamper their local police efforts. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency maintains that the releases pose threats to public safety because some of those who have been released had previous felony charges on their records.
Despite the federal government's protests, many local agencies believe that immigrants should not be held longer than citizens when they are charged with the same crime. Although some may believe that the immigrants ought to be turned over to ICE, local authorities say that doing so can compromise their community's ability to trust them. Furthermore, some immigration activities maintain that holding immigrants beyond their release date and turning them over to ICE can discourage people from reporting crimes in the first place.
Sources say that in 2014, immigration authorities filed 105,000 requests for local agencies to hold immigrants up to 48 hours after their release date in order to begin deportation proceedings. Local agencies are said to have denied nearly 9,000 of those requests during the same period.
In a situation where an immigrant is being held by local authorities beyond his or her release date, an attorney who has experience in immigration law may be able to assist in securing the release in a timely manner. Moreover, it may be possible for the attorney to prevent or delay deportation proceedings in some circumstances.
Source: WTVM, "Thousands released after immigration holds denied", Amy Taxin, October 17, 2014