Attorney General: Group Used Inaccurate Leaked Draft Report To Name ND Sanctuary State


Over the last week or so I’ve been writing (see here, here, and here) about a Center for Immigration Studies report which named North Dakota a “sanctuary state” which does not cooperate with federal efforts to deport illegal immigrants. The problem is, CIS got it wrong, and I can now report how they got it wrong.

CIS published a map which states that North Dakota “Will not honor ICE detainer.” Based on that Breitbart published a bombastic report which claimed North Dakota was letting serious criminals run free because of this supposed non-cooperation.

Different jurisdictions use different means to protect illegal aliens from lawful deportation. North Dakota is perhaps the most extreme,” Breitbart author Katie McHugh wrote. “State penitentiary policy forbids the state from honoring any ICE detainer, meaning that should local officers detain a suspected immigrant murderer or rapist, they will not cooperate with immigration officials, making deportation well nigh impossible.”

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]It appears as though CIS used a leaked copy of a draft report presented to Congress which contained an error about North Dakota’s cooperation on detainers[/mks_pullquote]

That report from Breitbart, coupled with the CIS report, led to a lot of you readers contacting me alarmed that our state was home to a completely irresponsible policy. But when I spoke to state corrections officials, they told me that CIS was wrong and that they comply with detainers all the time.

When I tried to contact CIS, specifically researcher Marguerite Telford who helped create the map, they told me that they got all their data from ICE. But they refused to provide me with that data from ICE which they based their report on. When Valley News Live’s Chris Berg interviewed Jessica Vaughn, the policy director for CIS, she was evasive when he pressed her on the provenance of the report. She just insisted that it was an ICE report presented to Congress.

Now we may know why. This evening Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem called me. He said he’d been following my posts on this matter, and he got together with Senator John Hoeven’s office to run down where CIS was getting their information.

It appears as though CIS used a leaked copy of a draft report presented to Congress which contained an error about North Dakota’s cooperation on detainers. You can read the email exchange between the AG’s office and Senator Hoeven’s staff.

“The press had a copy of an internal draft report that was never transmitted to Congress,” Hoeven staffer Ryan Bernstein writes in an email.

“We talked to ICE and confirmed that the internal report was not accurate. They stated that the report was in draft form and that additional vetting/review of the report would have likely caught the error,” he continued.

A little work on CIS part to verify the information with the states, or some effort to look into the matter after they were alerted (by me) to local officials disputing the report, would also have caught the error. Instead CIS decided to stonewall and ignore, misleading thousands of people.

You can read the ICE report that was actually presented to Congress right here. Details about the Criminal Alien Program begins on page 35. As you can see, North Dakota is not mentioned.