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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Sheriff's Office may change ICE detainee policy

  • Leavenworth County Sheriff Andy Dedeke said his office will likely join other Kansas counties in no longer automatically honoring requests by federal immigration officials to detain people.
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  • Leavenworth County Sheriff Andy Dedeke said his office will likely join other Kansas counties in no longer automatically honoring requests by federal immigration officials to detain people.
    "Our staff is discussing it," Dedeke said.
    The sheriff said he still would like obtain a legal opinion from County Counselor David Van Parys.
    "In fairness, I want to discuss it with our county counselor," Dedeke said.
    The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Kansas announced this week that Johnson, Shawnee and Finney counties have indicated they will no longer automatically honor detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement without probable cause or a warrant.
    The ACLU Foundation of Kansas recently sent letters to county sheriffs across Kansas explaining possible risks associated with warrantless detention requests from ICE, according to a news release from ACLU.
    In those letters, the ACLU Foundation of Kansas argued an ICE detainer is not a warrant, and has not been approved by a judge. The ACLU also argued a detainer request does not mean there has been a finding about a person’s immigration status, according to the release.
    "I think it's probably a good practice to adopt," Dedeke said.
    The sheriff said he received an ACLU letter regarding the issue several weeks ago.
    He noted there was a federal court decision in Oregon concerning the issue.
There are some legal considerations there," Dedeke said.
    In the Oregon case, a federal judge found a woman's constitutional rights were violated when she continued to be held in jail at the request of immigration officials after her state case was resolved.
    "We don't get a lot of ICE holds in Leavenworth County," Dedeke said.
    He estimated his office receives less than five ICE detainer requests per year.
    "It's very rare," he said.
    In the past, the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office has detained people at the request of ICE. But, the detainees have been released after 48 hours if ICE did not supply charging documents.
    Dedeke said ICE hasn't always come through with such documentation.
    "There is some liability associated with that," the sheriff said.
    In the future, the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office may require "something from the get-go" before bringing someone into Leavenworth County Jail.
    "We need some kind of an official document from a court saying, 'Yes this person can be held,'" he said.
    Dedeke said he does not know how soon his office will make a decision on the issue, but he expects the decision will be made by the end of summer.
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