Trump administration says New Orleans ‘uncooperative’ with immigration detainers; Landrieu responds

President Donald Trump has canceled multiple open press events this week, opting not to let reporters into the room to ask questions.

NEW ORLEANS – The Trump administration on Monday opened up its first line of attack on so-called sanctuary cities, naming jurisdictions that decline to detain immigrants who could be subject to deportation.

The report lays out 206 declined “detainers” that were registered in Immigrations and Customs Enforcement databases during the week of January 28 to February 3. Detainers are requests by ICE to local law enforcement agencies to hold certain individuals ICE believes could be deported for up to an extra 48 hours beyond the criminal process so they can be picked up by ICE.

New Orleans is one of the cities on the list, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu responded today, repeating the phrase that New Orleans “will not move officers off the street to join President Trump’s deportation force.”

Mitch Landrieu

“First and foremost, the NOPD does now and will continue to follow federal laws and focus on arresting people who commit crime, regardless of their immigration status,” Landrieu said. “The NOPD’s policy on immigration complies with federal law and makes New Orleans safer because individuals are more likely to report crime, and victims and witnesses can testify without fear of being questioned about their immigration status. That’s why the NOPD will continue to focus on arresting those who commit violent crimes, not enforcing civil immigration laws.”

President Donald Trump ordered the Department of Homeland Security to issue the reports, called the Weekly Declined Detainer Outcome Report, in an executive order in January.

In the report, DHS lays out the type of crime for which the individual was either charged or convicted, where they were arrested and the request was declined. The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, which is a separate entity from NOPD and the city, is listed once on the report.

Landrieu also pointed out that NOPD’s immigration policy has been approved by the U.S. Justice Department and the federal judge overseeing the federal consent decree that guides policing in New Orleans.

“Going back to September of 2015, officials at ICE were consulted in the drafting of NOPD’s immigration policy,” Landrieu said. “This agency, which is responsible for enforcing federal immigration laws, never expressed any concern with the NOPD’s policy.”

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman also responded to the ICE report with the following statement:

“The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office policy on ICE voluntary detainers clearly defines standards and procedures for OPSO interactions with ICE personnel  while protecting the Constitutional rights of all individuals in our custody, care and control, and complying with federal law. The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office continues to stand firmly behind our ICE policy. Under the policy, the Sheriff’s Office shall decline all voluntary ICE detainer requests unless the individual is charged with one or more specific crimes of violence.

“I firmly believe that these policies and practices promote what is best for our city and comply with federal law. Our ICE policy is about freedom and fairness, ideals upon which I hope we can all agree and upon which our country was built. If we are to continue to be judged by these ideals, I believe our current ICE policy places us on the right side of this issue and keeps us on the path to a stronger future.”

gusman, marlin sheriff

Sheriff Marlin Gusman