September 10, 2014

RENO, NV — Today, Washoe County Sheriff Michael Haley announced that his office will not hold people in custody at the Washoe County Detention Facility for one particular type of detainer request made by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security.

“I am greatly disappointed that the Washoe County Sheriff's Office will continue to incarcerate immigrants without a judge's authorization. This will continue to separate our families, causing pain and more suffering. While we appreciate this small step in Sheriff Haley’s new policy, we do not feel that this policy goes far enough," said Allan Ferrenberg, an ACTIONN leader from the Immigration Strategy Team.

“Although we appreciate having spoken with Sheriff Haley about changing his entire policy honoring detainers across the board, the new policy still leaves the county subject to liability for violating 4th amendment constitutional protections by imprisoning individuals without probable cause,” said Vanessa Spinazola, ACLU of Nevada Legislative & Advocacy Director. “Additionally, the unorthodox and seemingly improper transfer of individuals to federal custody merely through an administrative form raises further questions regarding the constitutionality of Washoe County’s new practices.”

“We must ensure that there is trust between the community and the law enforcement agencies that are meant to protect them,” noted Pat Fling, Executive Director of ACTIONN. “The Washoe County Sheriff should have to get a warrant – from a judge, not an administrative agency – to deprive anyone of their liberty. This new policy does not signal to the immigrant community that they should trust our local law enforcement.”

"Our families will still experience the pain of being separated from this new policy," said Al Ferrenberg, an ACTIONN leader working on the Immigration Strategy Team.

The policy states the Sheriff’s Office will not honor “ICE detainers,” but will now require receipt of two administrative forms (I-247 Notice of Action and I-200 Warrant for Alien Arrest) executed by ICE in order to detain an individual for an indefinite period of time. The ACLU of Nevada maintains that an administrative warrant issue by ICE is not probable cause, is not a constitutionally valid warrant, and does not provide the Sheriff with authority to detain individuals for any length of time.

The ACLU of Nevada and ACTIONN hope to continue to work with the Sheriff’s Office to implement a policy that will ensure the safety and fair treatment of our entire community.

The ACLU of Nevada is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to the defense and advancement of civil liberties and civil rights for all people in Nevada.

ACTIONN develops the leadership of people of faith in Northern Nevada at the grassroots level to achieve power for positive change. Bringing people together across racial, economic, and religious lines, ACTIONN listens to the stories of local people and connects with civic and political leaders to build relationships, identify common concerns, find solutions and take action to improve the quality of life and expand opportunity for all Northern Nevada families, especially the most vulnerable.