For individuals throughout the state of Florida who are in the country without proper documentation being detained by law enforcement officers is one of their greatest fears. In some Florida counties, once in custody, individuals may be subject to federal “detainer requests.” When granted, these requests keep an individual in jail for up to 2 days during which time they can be taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Once in ICE’s custody they may be deported.
While several Miami area law enforcement agencies already stopped automatically complying with these requests, until earlier this month, Palm Beach County was not included in that group. In response to a collation of religious congregations called People Engaged in Active Community Efforts, Palm Beach County Sherriff’s Office recently announced that before complying with federal immigration detainer requests it will require “judicial authority.”
Proponents of this change believe that it is good for the local economy as many of the individuals usually detained provide the immigrant labor needed by many businesses in the county to survive. In addition, some point out that the county may be safer as a result of the change since people who in the past may not have called the police for fear of having their immigration status questioned, will be more likely to call the Sherriff’s Office when they witness the commission of a crime or suspicious behavior.
Of course this does not mean that individuals residing in Palm Beach County will not be subject to deportation. Whenever anyone in the state of Florida faces this it is a good idea to consult an immigration lawyer.
Source: Sun Sentinel, “Palm Beach County sheriff agrees to curtail immigration jailings,” Andy Reid, July 22, 2014