(CNSNews.com) -- After filing a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the government watchdog group Judicial Watch was able to obtain documents showing that sanctuary cities (and counties) all across the nation refused to help with 248 ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detainers on criminal illegal aliens in the first three months of 2017.
"These new documents confirm that sanctuary policies are dangerous and help the worst of the worst criminal element," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement.
"The complaints of sanctuary politicians aside," said Fitton, "the Trump administration must catalogue the continued threat to the public safety caused by lawless sanctuary policies."
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in May because the DHS did not respond to a Freedom of Information Act request by the group in April. A court order forced the release of the documents this month.
The papers include the crimes committed by illegal aliens in the first three months of 2017, a list of jails that failed to cooperate with the ICE detainer program, and the "top 50 jurisdictions that failed to cooperate with the ICE detainer program," reported Judicial Watch.
Some of the top counties denying detainers included Ventura County, Calif. (188); Miami-Dade, Fla. (93); Denver, Colo. (74); Clark, Nev. (68); and Los Angeles, Calif. (57).
"Nationwide, a total of 284 detainers involving serious offenses were declined during the first three months of fiscal year 2017," said Judicial Watch, "including, in part, various forms of assault (16); drug-and-alcohol-related charges (39); and weapons charges and crimes against persons and property (18)."
An April 6, 2017 email from acting DHS Director Thomas Homan about complaints from Sen. Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) office concerning errors in the Declined Detainer Outcome Reports (DDOR) said, "Certainly but NYC is extremely uncooperative. We will provide the information and work with OPLA and OGC staff to engage. They removed our officers from Rikers Island and will not honor detainers...."
In at least one instance, local law enforcement engaged in outright obstruction of ICE's efforts to pick up illegal immigrants, reported Judicial Watch. A March 21, 2017 ICE email states, "Hennepin County Adult Detention Center released an alien out the front door of the jail as an ICE officer was waiting in their sally port to take him into custody."
According to U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement, "ICE places detainers on aliens who have been arrested on local criminal charges and for whom ICE possesses probable cause to believe that they are removable from the United States, so that ICE can take custody of the alien when he or she is released from local custody. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission."