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Oregon Counties Abandon Immigration Hold Policies

OPB | April 22, 2014 12:20 p.m. | Updated: April 22, 2014 1:35 p.m.

Credit: Thomas Hawk — Creative Commons

Credit: Thomas Hawk — Creative Commons

Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that Clackamas County violated a woman’s constitutional rights by holding her in custody for the sole purpose of letting Immigration and Customs Enforcement determine whether to deport her. The plaintiff, Maria Miranda-Olivares, was booked into jail for violating a restraining order. Miranda-Olivares pled guilty to one of her charges, but she wasn’t released after serving her 48-hour sentence. Instead, since ICE had issued a detainer for the jail to hold her, she was kept in custody for another 19 hours.

The court ruled this violated Miranda-Olivares constitutional rights because ICE detainers are merely “requests,” not mandatory law. This is a reading of the law that Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton took into account last year when he decided not to detain immigrants jailed for low-level or nonviolent crimes. This ruling could have widespread consequences for counties around the state, and sheriffs are already changing their policies en masse.

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