DC Votes to Only Detain Individuals for ICE Who Are Wanted on a Criminal Warrant

By Melanie Arter | October 9, 2019 | 10:24am EDT
(Photo by Paul Ratje / AFP/Getty Images)

The D.C. Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to forbid the city’s Department of Corrections from detaining individuals for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) only for an immigration law violation.

The emergency bill also bans the city from asking about the immigration status of someone in custody.



The Department of Corrections is required to refuse to notify ICE of a person’s release date and deny ICE access to detention facilities, the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, WTOP reported Wednesday.

The city will only detain an individual for ICE if that person is wanted on a criminal warrant.

“If ICE has a judicial warrant or judicial order then [the Department of Corrections] are able to cooperate and be able to detain somebody,” Councilmember Charles Allen of Ward 6, who chairs the D.C. Council Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, was quoted as saying.

“D.C. is a proud city of immigrant communities and we want to make sure we’re protecting every single one of our neighbors,” Allen said. “We say we’re a sanctuary city and we want to make sure we mean it.”

He said the city would not be “complicit with the Trump administration” on the issue of immigration.

“After we learned that there have been some D.C. residents who have been turned over from the Department of Corrections to ICE, we wanted to make limitations around that to help protect residents and make sure we’re not complicit with the Trump administration when it comes to their activities against our immigrant neighbors,” Allen said.


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