Your Community Is Put at Risk When ICE Detainers Are Ignored

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) relies on the exchange of information with its law enforcement agency (LEA) partners to access foreign-born inmates at local, state, and federal facilities, and the use of detainers (Form l-247A) as part of its public safety mission. In many cases, these individuals pose a demonstrable threat to communities.

By lodging detainers against those individuals, ICE makes every effort to ensure that removable aliens are turned over to ICE custody at the conclusion of their criminal detention rather than being released into the community where many abscond or reoffend. For example, we know that one group of criminal aliens that ICE has researched has a recidivism rate of 46%.

An ICE detainer requests that the receiving LEA do the following:

  • Notify ICE as early as practicable (at least 48 hours in advance, if possible) before the alien is released from custody;
  • Maintain custody of the alien for a period not to exceed 48 hours beyond the time he/she would have otherwise been released to allow ICE to assume custody;

When jurisdictions fail to honor an ICE detainer, it risks both public and officer safety, and unnecessarily expends ICE's already-limited resources.

  • In some cases, state or local laws, ordinances, or policies restrict or prohibit cooperation with ICE.
  • In other cases, jurisdictions willfully decline ICE detainers, and refuse to even provide timely notification to ICE of an alien's release.
  • The results are the same: aliens are released into the community where they may potentially reoffend and harm members of the public.

Above is just a small sample of the types of individuals that are being released into your community and other jurisdictions that do not honor ICE detainers every day. These are dangerous, criminal aliens illegally present in the United States that local jurisdictions have deemed important enough to arrest and prosecute for their crimes. Yet, these same jurisdictions are preventing ICE's lawful, Congressionally-mandated enforcement efforts to enforce the laws its officers and agents are sworn to uphold, against the exact same criminals. Instead of enforcement actions taking place within the safe confines of local jails, ICE is forced to increase its presence in corresponding communities as a result of these sanctuary policies.

Archived Declined Detainers


Do not attempt to apprehend any subject. If you have information about the whereabouts of these fugitives, immediately contact your local U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office or call the national hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE as soon as possible!

Submit an anonymous tip online

Who has been released into your community?

Please click here to view a PDF of more examples of criminals and public safety threats who have already been released near you. This document was last updated Jan. 19, 2021.

Declined Detainers: Oct. - Dec. 2020 (PDF)

Fact vs. Myth

MYTH: ICE targets victims and witnesses of crimes resulting in a reduction in crime reporting.

FACT: It is not the policy or practice of DHS or ICE to target victims or witnesses of crime. ICE encourages victims and witnesses to report all crimes and fully cooperate with state and local law enforcement.

ICE does not inquire about the immigration status of victims or witnesses of crimes.

Victims may seek any immigration benefit to which they are lawfully entitled under immigration law, including relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and/or the Immigration and Nationality Act.

MYTH: Sanctuary policies insulate non-criminal aliens from immigration enforcement.

FACT: Sanctuary policies force ICE officers out of local jails and into corresponding communities. When a local jurisdiction refuses to collaborate with ICE or obstructs the agency's lawful enforcement activities, it places at risk both public and officer safety, requires a much greater expenditure of limited resources, and forces ICE to arrest criminal aliens at-large in the communities, instead of a secure, jail environment.

MYTH: Immigration violations are not a crime.

FACT: Aliens who violate immigration law can be charged criminally under federal law.

The administrative nature of immigration warrants is a much more efficient means of immigration enforcement. However, they do not allow ICE to compel jurisdictions to cooperate with detainer requests.

While criminal charges apply for illegally entering or reentering the United States, charging all immigration violators criminally would put an overwhelming burden on the courts.

MYTH: ICE officers cannot make an arrest without a warrant.

FACT: ICE does not need a warrant to make a civil immigration arrest.

Section 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides ICE officers the authority to arrest aliens without a judicial warrant.

No judge has the authority to issue a warrant for a civil immigration violation. Congress, by statute, vested this authorization solely to supervisory immigration officers.

How You Can Help

Encourage cooperation with ICE so that removable aliens who were already arrested by state and local law enforcement aren't released back into the community and given a chance to reoffend.

Promote ICE arrests in jails rather than in local communities. Propose new legislation requiring cooperation with ICE detainers.

Propose new legislation indemnifying local law enforcement agencies protecting them from any liability while temporarily holding an alien on ICE's behalf.

Public Safety Threats Released Into Your Community

ICE has repeatedly asked local jurisdictions to reconsider non-cooperation policies because those policies put politics before public safety. ICE maintains that cooperation with local law enforcement is essential to protecting public safety, and the agency aims to work cooperatively with local jurisdictions to ensure that criminal aliens are not released into U.S. communities to commit additional crimes.

Updated: 01/19/2021