In an executive order preceding his first infamous (and successfully blocked) Muslim ban, President Donald Trump required the Department of Homeland Security to publish a weekly "comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens." These lists, NPR writes, are intended to "publicly shame" sanctuary cities and counties that don't comply with federal immigrant detainer requests.
A Trump administration report, issued by the Department of Homeland Security on Monday, identified King County as one of many jurisdictions across the country to give the middle finger to the Trump administration by refusing to honor immigration detainers. (What's an immigration detainer? According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] officers issue these requests to jails and other law enforcement agencies to hold people for "an additional 48 hours [excluding weekends and holidays] after his or her release date in order to provide ICE agents extra time to decide whether to take the individual into federal custody for removal purposes." They conclude: "ICE’s use of detainers to imprison people without due process and, in many cases, without any charges pending or probable cause of any violation has raised serious constitutional concerns.")
The Trump administration report tracked declined detainer requests between January 28 and February 3 and includes the cases of 206 unnamed people around the country who were jailed for "notable" criminal activity. Many of the detainees hail from Mexico and Central America, NPR noted.
Two King County jails, South Correctional Entity (SCORE) in Des Moines and Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, were named in the report for releasing three people, despite receiving federal detainer requests. The "notable crimes" the detainees committed included domestic violence and assault.
"King County has refused to abide by these tactics," said King County Councilmember Joe McDermott. "We've adopted a policy refusing to honor ICE detainers, except in the most serious of circumstances, recognizing that ICE detainers harm public safety in our communities."
He continued: "I want people to feel safe talking to law enforcement, regardless of whether they are a victim, witness, or reporting a crime. I want them to feel safe having that conversation. If they are afraid of having that contact lead to detention or possibly being deported, they will not engage."
To protect vulnerable communities, including immigrants, refugees, and undocumented people, the King County Council launched a resiliency program in February. The program included the establishment of a legal defense fund to help immigrants through the naturalization process and providing "Know Your Rights" trainings, which help individuals prepare if they are approached by ICE agents or become victims of a hate crime.
Ultimately, said McDermott, the county's goal is to remain a welcoming place for marginalized individuals.
The report listed Snohomish County, which received 12 detainer requests during the reporting period, as a "non-coopoerative jurisdiction." Chelan and Clark Counties were also listed as having denied detainers. Noticeably absent from this list: Tacoma's Northwest Detention Center, the site where 23-year-old DACA Daniel Ramirez Medina is being held.