Attorney General Jeff Sessions has released a statement following the publication of the first weekly report by the Department of Homeland Security which provided a list of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
Sessions attacked so-called "sanctuary cities," jurisdictions which fail to comply with federal requests, Daily Wire reported.
The DHS report contained information on jurisdictions which refused to honor detainers, which are requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to extend the detention of undocumented immigrants already in the custody of local law enforcement authorities.
"This important report demonstrates a clear and ongoing threat to public safety," Sessions said, according to Daily Wire. "It is not acceptable for jurisdictions to refuse to cooperate with federal law enforcement by releasing criminal aliens back into our communities when our law required them to be deported. The Department of Justice will use all lawful authority to ensure that criminals who are illegally in this country are detained and removed swiftly and to hold accountable jurisdictions that willfully violate federal law."
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The publication of regular reports was called for in an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in January.
"To better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions, the [Secretary of Homeland Security] shall utilize the Declined Detainer Outcome Report or its equivalent and, on a weekly basis, make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens," Trump's executive order read.
Critics of the reporting procedure argue that the DHS report does not offer a complete picture. The New York Times noted that while ICE issued 3,083 detainers in the time period covered in the report, from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, only 206 were turned down.
Officials in Nassau County, New York, which was included among the uncooperative jurisdictions, protested to ICE.
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"We have tried to be cooperative and it's unfair and misleading to suggest that we're not -- especially in these times," Captain Mike Golio of the Nassau County Sheriff's Office told the Times.
Nassau County allows ICE officials to have a permanent presence in its jails, meaning ICE can immediately access undocumented immigrants.
Additional criticisms of the report were raised.
"This ignores the fact that federal courts have repeatedly held that immigration detainers are optional requests and cannot be made mandatory under the Constitution," said New York Commissioner for Immigration Affairs Nisha Agarwal.
Officials from Travis County, Texas, which declined the most detainers, confirmed their opposition to accepting them. The high rate of rejections was due to a policy change by Sheriff Sally Hernandez, a Democrat, who stated in January that unless an undocumented immigrant had been charged with murder, aggravated sexual assault or human smuggling, authorities would allow them to post bond and be released even if a detainer had been issued.