IRLI Responds to ACLU’s Attempt to Impede Florida’s Law Agencies from Enforcing ICE Detainer

Press Releases

January 28, 2009

In letters released earlier this week, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) responded to the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) latest attempt to prevent local law enforcement agencies from enforcing federal immigration laws, particularly ICE detainers.

On July 16, 2009, in an attempt to prevent Florida law enforcement agencies from enforcing federal immigration laws, the ACLU sent letters to 359 Florida law enforcement agencies claiming the issuance and enforcement of ICE detainers were unlawful and unconstitutional. In crafting its arguments, the ACLU claimed ICE detainers violate the Fourth Amendment’s protection against warrantless arrests and the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of substantive and procedural due process.

When asked for comment, Michael Hethmon, Executive Director of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), explained the ACLU’s claims are incorrect, stating that “the United States District Court for the Northern District of California had upheld the legal validity of ICE detainers.” Mike referenced the recent decision in Committee for Immigration Rights of Sonoma County v. County of Sonoma—a decision that he believes “accurately characterizes the legality and scope of ICE detainers.”

In the case Committee for Immigration Rights of Sonoma County v. County of Sonoma, the court determined ICE detainers are within the Secretary of Homeland Security’s “authority to administer and enforce the laws relating to the immigration and naturalization of aliens.” The court went on to state, “There is nothing in the statute that purports to limit the issuance of immigration detainers to cases where an alien is arrested by a Federal, State, or local law enforcement official for a violation of any law relating to controlled substances.”

In their letters, Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) also responded the ACLU’s allegations concerning the enforcement of federal immigration laws by local law enforcement agencies. Mike Hethmon commented on the allegations, stating the “ACLU’s letters to Florida law enforcement misstate the law, and ultimately hinder and endanger state law enforcement agencies’ ability to protect the public.”

“IRLI’s response to the ACLU will hopefully aid Florida’s law enforcement agencies in lawfully enforcing the federal immigration laws,” continued Mike. “Enforcement of immigration laws is in the interests of all Americans, and it vital that our state and local law enforcement agencies be accurately informed in enforcing them.”IRLI’s responses to the ACLU’s letters can be found at

For further information, contact IRLI at 202-232-5590 or [email protected].

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