The Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility in The Dalles says it will no longer honor requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain undocumented immigrants until federal agents can pick them up.
The jail, which is funded by four Oregon counties, will continue to house immigration detainees once they are in ICE custody.
The major policy change, first reported by OPB, comes after the facility settled a lawsuit with a Hood River man who said he had been illegally detained for 20 hours while the jail waited for immigration agents to take him into federal custody. In 2014, a magistrate judge in Portland ruled that a jail that cooperated with an ICE detainer had violated a woman's fourth amendment rights, leading to several Oregon sheriffs to abandon the practice.
The jail, known as NORCOR, has long honored ICE detainers, which are formal requests that ask jails to hold someone suspected of violating immigration laws until an immigration agent can book the inmate on federal charges, even if that person would otherwise have been released.
NORCOR, which serves Gilliam, Hood River, Wasco and Sherman counties, received 105 detainers between November 2014 and October 2017, according to records provided to WW by ICE.
At least 62 people were booked into custody by immigration agents after the jail honored ICE detainers over that span. The data provided by ICE indicates that NORCOR only declined to cooperate with one detainer request made during that three year period.
The jail will continue to house immigration detainees for ICE, which pays the jail $80 a day for each bed the federal agency rents in the facility. The jail's policy to provide jail beds to the federal agency has drawn fire from critics who say the facility may be in violation of Oregon's sanctuary law, which bars local agencies from using state resources to enforce federal immigration regulations.
"To fully comply with Oregon's sanctuary law, jails in Oregon should cease renting space to house people ICE is detaining," JJ Rollin, Co-Director of the Immigrant Rights Project at the Oregon Justice Resource Center said in a statement. "Counties and cities should not be relying on locking people up in order to balance their budgets."