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ICE considers deportation on case-by-case basis

Editor’s note: A story in the March 29-30 Daily Globe focused on a young man who came to the United States illegally and faces deportation ­— an action that would separate him from his family, as well as his girlfriend and their young child. This article focuses on how Nobles County, along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, work on cases pertaining to illegal immigration.

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WORTHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security since 2003.

In 2013, ICE conducted a total of 368,544 removals, with 133,551 of those removals individuals apprehended in the interior of the U.S. Eighty-two percent of those interior removals had previously convicted a crime, according to ICE records.

“Once in our custody, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) adjudicate each individual on a case-by-case basis,” said Shawn Neudauer, public affairs officer for ICE.

“ICE is focused on sensible, effective immigration enforcement by implementing the following removal priorities: convicted criminals, those who re-entered the United States after having been previously removed, and those who have outstanding deportation orders,” he explained.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) released a new report in February about the varied use of immigration detainers across the country. From January to August 2013, Nobles County held a total of 48 people on ICE detainers. In the most recent two fiscal years, Minnesota detained 5,314 people.

“Many of the aliens who enter ICE custody do so after ICE places a detainer on them when they are arrested by local law enforcement on criminal charges,” Neudauer said. “By issuing a detainer, ICE requests that a law enforcement agency notify ICE before releasing an alien and maintain custody of the subject for a period not to exceed 48 hours — excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays — to allow them to assume custody.

“This request flows from federal regulations, which arises from the Secretary’s power under the Immigration and Nationality Act,” Neudauer added. “It is ICE’s general authority to detain individuals who are subject to removal or removal proceedings.”

Nobles County District Attorney Kathleen Kusz explained the process as to what happens when an immigrant is arrested on criminal charges, and who decides on deportation.

“If someone gets arrested for charges in Nobles County and they post bail, they only post bail on those charges,” Kusz said. “However, if they have an ICE hold on them, that is completely separate from us.

“It’s similar to if someone has charges filed against them in two separate states,” she added. “ If someone resolves the charges in one state, the other state could have them extradited there to face the other charges.”

Kusz explained that if illegal immigrant are victims of a crime, they are not reported to ICE. Her office’s position and goal is to help people, she said.

“Take child support cases as an example,” Kusz said. “If someone (illegal immigrant) comes in and has a child-support case and is looking for support for their child, that’s what I’ll try to do — get them support for their child,” Kusz said. “I’m not going to be on the phone with ICE after a case and report someone. That’s not my job.”

Kusz did note that if a person is arrested and already has an ICE hold on his record, it’s out of her office’s hands.

“ICE is its own separate entity. If someone is arrested and it shows that they have an ICE hold on them, then yes ­­— they’re going to find out. But sometimes we’ll be prosecuting someone and ICE will issue a hold on them and take them away to be deported, and we don’t get to pursue those charges.”

Once ICE issues a hold on an individual, it becomes out of the officer’s and attorney’s hands control as to what happens to that individual.

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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