In recent years, Colorado county sheriffs have largely declined to hold prisoners for federal immigration agencies. But the American Civil Liberties Union has been going after sheriffs who it says have been unlawfully cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ACLU Colorado is suing Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell, claiming he is violating the law by keeping in jail a person who is otherwise eligible for release so ICE can take him into custody. The sheriff said he is fighting the lawsuit, saying the federal agency gives him the authority to keep the suspected undocumented immigrant detained. The dispute is the latest flareup in Colorado courts between the ACLU and local law enforcement agencies on the subject of so-called “ICE holds.”
To apprehend people suspected of being undocumented immigrants, ICE has been seeking cooperation from jailers nationwide, including those in Colorado. When ICE believes that a prisoner may have violated federal immigration law, the agency sends a detainer and an administrative warrant to the jail holding him or her. Some counties have continued to honor ICE detainer requests despite mounting legal pressure to let the prisoners go once they are eligible for release.