Last week the Center for Immigration Studies, an anti-illegal immigration group, released a map of states and communities that supposedly do not cooperate with detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
That map named North Dakota as a state that does not comply with ICE detainers, and a Breitbart.com article based on the map went on to claim some pretty sensational things about our state’s policies.
“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,” Breitbart reporter Katie McHugh wrote.
Problem is, North Dakota officials dispute the CIS data and Breitbart report, saying they comply with ICE detainers all the time, and when I tried to contact Breitbart and CIS to clarify the issue I got a brushoff.
I wrote about it at Watchdog today:
Marguerite Telford, one of the CIS researchers who created the map, failed to respond to phone calls, but she sent an email: “The list of jurisdictions which do not cooperate fully with federal law enforcement was put together by ICE, which I would assume very narrowly defines it.”
Telford did not respond to a follow-up request for ICE data used by CIS to create the map. McHugh failed to respond to an emailed inquiry sent last week.
Neither Breitbart nor CIS contacted North Dakota officials for their reports.
North Dakota officials have told me that they’ve had disputes with ICE over paying for detained illegal immigrants, but that’s not what CIS/Breitbart reported. They claim that North Dakota does not honor detainer requests at all.
This is demonstrably untrue. In fact, after I first wrote about this last week, I’ve spoken to multiple attorneys who regularly represent illegal immigrants who say that they’ve never seen the state ignore an ICE detainer.
The illegal immigration issue is big news right now, and it’s understandable that both Breitbart and CIS want to be a part of that debate, but they’re seriously misleading the public about North Dakota’s policies.