Hennepin County has called out Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) for "inaccuracies" in naming the county on its list of agencies not complying with federal immigration law.
Hennepin County appeared twice on a document issued this week that lists potentially deportable immigrants arrested and later released by local enforcement agencies, despite federal officials asking that they be held until ICE agents can take them into custody.
It's the first such list to be released and it comes after an executive order signed by President Trump, who wants to highlight which jurisdictions are not complying with ICE requests. He has threatened that cities with so-called "sanctuary policies" face losing federal funding if they persist with them.
But in a press conference on Thursday, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and County Attorney Mike Freeman took issue with the county's inclusion on the list, saying that it would be unlawful to detain the suspects longer than is allowed without a warrant.
According to FOX 9's Leah Beno, Stanek is requesting an apology from the DHS.
"The detainer forms filed by ICE are not warrants, but merely discretionary requests," said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, according to a press release. "We cannot comply with them because it would be unlawful detentions that could open the County to liability. Moreover such actions unconstitutionally limits a person’s liberty without sufficient due process."
County told ICE it was releasing suspects ahead of time
Hennepin County's inclusion related to requests made by ICE to detain two Mexican nationals arrested in the county last month – one of whom was convicted for a meth possession and the other charged with possession of a weapon.
The detainer request was made on March 2 and "declined" a day later.
However, Stanek says that while his department will not detain without a warrant at the request of ICE, it did in fact tell ICE that it would be releasing these individuals, and they were picked up by ICE upon their release from jail.
This was not mentioned on the ICE list.
"Hennepin County is not a sanctuary for criminals," said Sheriff Stanek. "But, we cannot hold individuals in the jail without legal authority. We must follow the law and, as a Sheriff, the rule of law is paramount."
The ICE release does note that Hennepin County does have a policy that limits cooperation with the immigration department, saying it "will not honor ICE detainer absent judicial authority."
Stanek and St. Paul police chief Todd Axtell were among the senior officers who signed a letter to U.S. senators earlier this month asking not to be punished for not spending funding earmarked for combating local crime on federal immigration enforcement, as CityPages reported.