Travis Co. denied 142 ICE detainers in a week, WilCo and Bastrop also on list
Travis County, Williamson County and Bastrop County are all listed in the weekly "Declined Detainer Outcome Report" published by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the week of January 28 through February 3, 2017.
The ICE report is mandated by President Trump's executive order 13768, named “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”
In all, the three Central Texas counties declined detainers for nearly 150 people during the report's time frame, with Travis County accounting for 142 of those detainers declined.
Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced her plan earlier this year to only selectively comply with ICE detainers, releasing lower-level offenders once judges allow them to post bond.
After looking at the report, Governor Greg Abbott released the following statement:
“Today’s report from DHS is deeply disturbing and highlights the urgent need for a statewide sanctuary city ban in Texas,” said Governor Abbott. “The Travis County Sheriff’s decision to deny ICE detainer requests and release back into our communities criminals charged with heinous crimes – including sexual offenses against children, domestic violence and kidnapping – is dangerous and should be criminal in itself. Texas will act to put an end to sanctuary policies that put the lives of our citizens at risk.
Patricia Gutierrez, a spokesperson for Williamson County, told CBS Austin that the detainers listed as refused in the report were in fact refused by ICE, not WilCo.
"We honor all ICE detainers placed on individuals and will continue to do so," Gutierrez said.
The Bastrop County Sheriff told CBS Austin "we do not refuse, and have never refused an ICE detainer.” He also said he knows no cases where someone with an ICE detainer would be released, and will investigate to find out where the discrepancy is coming from.
The Travis County Sheriff's Office says the numbers are inflated and don't reflect a typical week for the county. A Texas Law Professor agrees. Elissa Steglich says Travis County's numbers for the week of January 28 to February 3 are unusually high and in future weeks they are very likely to drop significantly.
“That is just what happened in that week period and it just so happens that during that week was when the detainer policy here in Travis County went into effect. So anyone that had a pending detainer request as of February 1 was identified and that detainer could not be honored,” said Steglich.
The immigration expert says several months of detainer requests could be included in the one week period. Steglich says Travis County typically does not make the top ten list for highest numbers of detainers not honored.
“I would anticipate we won't see much of Travis County on that list going forward,” said Steglich.
Read the full report below: