No more immigration holds in Central Oregon

County jails make policy changes in response to civil rights case

By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin / @DylanJDarling

Central Oregon sheriffs are joining their counterparts around the state in no longer honoring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement immigration hold requests, in the wake of a Clackamas County civil rights court case.

“Due to the recent court decision we are no longer holding people in our facility based on an ICE detainer alone,” Capt. Shane Nelson, who manages the jail for the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, said Thursday afternoon. The inmates will be released as long as there is no other reason to detain them.

An ICE detainer gives the agency time to investigate the immigration status of the inmate and potentially assume custody.

U.S. District Judge Janice Stewart ruled late last week that Clackamas County violated the Fourth Amendment rights of Maria Miranda-Olivares in 2012 by keeping her in jail at the request of ICE beyond when she could have been released. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable seizure.

Miranda-Olivares had been arrested March 14, 2012, for violating a domestic violence restraining order and booked into jail, according to court records. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 48 hours in jail and would have been released that afternoon due to time served, but instead was kept in jail until the next morning because of an ICE detainer.

Following Stewart’s ruling, several counties around Oregon have changed their ICE hold policies, said Gary Bettencourt, Gilliam County sheriff and president of the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association.

“I don’t think we are left with much choice but comply with the court ruling,” he said. Deputies take people arrested in Gilliam County to the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility in The Dalles, which also serves Wasco, Sherman, Wheeler and Hood River counties. Multnomah, Washington and Marion counties have also suspended the use of immigration holds, according to The Associated Press.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, which holds people arrested in Jefferson and Crook counties, has also changed its policies because of the court ruling, said Sheriff Jim Adkins.

“We don’t hold anybody on ICE detainer anymore,” he said Thursday.

Before making the change in policy Wednesday, the Deschutes County Jail had seven inmates being held on ICE detainers, among other charges, said Nelson, the jail captain. Once the change was made, three of those inmates were able to post bail and were released. The other four remained in jail Thursday afternoon.

Andrew Munoz, an ICE spokesman in Seattle, declined to take questions about the ruling or the jail policy changes, but did offer a written statement.

“ICE will continue to work cooperatively with law enforcement partners throughout Oregon as the agency seeks to enforce its priorities through the identification and removal of convicted criminals and others who are public safety threats,” he wrote in an email.

— Reporter: 541-617-7812, ddarling@bendbulletin.com