AP NEWS

ICE criticizes Michigan sheriff’s release of immigrants

March 1, 2019
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In this Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 photo, protesters interrupt a Grand Rapids City Commission meeting in Grand Rapids, Mich. Civil rights groups allege Grand Rapids police officials acted on racial profiling not fear of terrorism when they called federal immigration authorities on a former U.S. Marine who is Latino. Jilmar Ramos-Gomez was arrested in November 2018 after setting a small fire inside Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital and then standing on the rooftop helipad. He was later held for three days by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, even though he was arrested with a U.S. passport. Grand Rapids Interim Police Chief David Kiddle said his department acted properly. (Cory Morse/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has criticized a Michigan sheriff’s department that released three people living in the country illegally despite federal detainment requests.

ICE says its enforcement abilities are undermined by the Kent County Sheriff’s Department new policy that requires the agency to present a federal warrant signed by a federal judge or magistrate when making detainment requests.

ICE also noted that Congress hasn’t created rules that call for a federal warrant to be needed when arresting someone for suspected immigration violations.

“This idea is simply a figment created by those who wish to undermine enforcement and excuse the ill-conceived practices of sanctuary jurisdictions that put politics before public safety,” ICE said.

ICE said the sheriff’s office recently released a Honduran national arrested for assault with intent to murder; a Mexican national arrested for a DUI; and a Mexican national arrested for operating while intoxicated. ICE has since arrested all three.

Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young stood by the policy decision.

“We believe it to be imperative that each detained person have access to due process and we will continue to require judicial oversite for all law enforcement agencies including ICE,” she said.

The sheriff’s office enacted the policy in January after ICE arrested and detained American citizen and U.S. Marine veteran Jilmar Ramos-Gomez in December.

Ramos-Gomez, 27, was in the county jail on charges related to a November incident at a Grand Rapids hospital. Ramos-Gomez was accused of setting a fire, pulling a fire alarm and getting access to a helipad. He was supposed to be released on Dec. 14, but jail staff honored a request from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to turn him over.

He spent three days in a detention center before a family lawyer proved that Ramos-Gomez is a U.S. citizen born in Michigan.