Updated 3 p.m. Oct. 2: U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement arrested 11 immigrants in Montgomery County this week in part of a four-day crackdown on “sanctuary jurisdictions,” according to the agency.
The agency, known as ICE, announced Thursday that more than 450 people had been arrested around the country this week, including 28 in Maryland and 14 in Washington, D.C.
In a press release announcing the arrests, Tom Homan, the acting director of ICE, wrote that “sanctuary jurisdictions that do not honor detainers or allow us access to jails and prisons are shielding criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and creating a magnet for illegal immigration.”
As a result, ICE dedicated more resources to “these communities” for the arrests, he wrote.
ICE spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell said Montgomery County is not consisently cooperative with the agency.
“Montgomery County does not consistently honor ICE’s detainer requests and denies ICE officers access to jails to interview suspected immigration violators without ICE coordinating with the jail ahead of time and the jail granting permission,” she wrote in an email.
Patrick Lacefield, spokesman for County Executive Ike Leggett, said in an email Friday the county is not a sanctuary jurisdiction.
“We honor ICE detainers that come with warrants and/or for serious crimes, including 10 we have honored this month,” Lacefield wrote.
He said there are certain detainers the county will not honor but stressed the county is not a sanctuary community.
“We would allow ICE access to our facilities just as we do any other law enforcement agencies. No law enforcement agency just walks in the door of our facilities,” he wrote, noting that agencies typically submit a request and complete paperwork before the county allows a meeting. “This has been in place for many years. We regularly communicate with ICE.”
No arrests were made of people in jails; all were made “in the community,” Cutrell said.
The Maryland arrests also include 11 in Prince George’s County, five in Baltimore city and one in Baltimore County.
Of the people arrested in the state, six were immigration fugitives, seven were re-entries and 15 were “at-large aliens,” Cutrell said. Eleven of the 28 had previous criminal convictions.
She did not have a specific breakdown for the 11 arrests in Montgomery County.
The 11 people were arrested on civil immigration violations and have not been criminally charged, Cutrell said.
Montgomery County Council member Nancy Navarro said Friday that arrests such as these create fear in the county’s large immigrant community.
“I know our police department is trying to establish lines of communication and establish trust within the community and these types of activities raise a lot of ambiguity,” Navarro said. “I think it’s a difficult time for immigrants.”
At an event in Silver Spring in February, Montgomery County leaders defended the inclusive local immigration policy the county follows.
The county has had a longstanding policy in which police do not ask individuals about their immigration status and do not assist federal agencies in locating undocumented immigrants.
County officials have said multiple times the county is not a sanctuary jurisdiction because the county cooperates with ICE to inform the agency about people convicted of crimes released from the county’s jail system.
At the time, County Executive Ike Leggett said he would not be intimidated by threats by the federal government to possibly pull funding over the local immigration policy.
Andrew Metcalf contributed to this report.
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