Errors lead ICE to suspend report that included the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman disputed the HCSO being placed on a Department of Homeland Security report, based on two incidents where Immigration and Customs Enforcement claimed the agency was not complying with ICE requests. (Sun Sailor photo by Paige Kieffer)    Julio Vega and Vicente Guerrero-Fernandez were released from the Hennepin County Jail Feb. 1 and into the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. (Submitted photo)
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Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman disputed the HCSO being placed on a Department of Homeland Security report, based on two incidents where Immigration and Customs Enforcement claimed the agency was not complying with ICE requests. (Sun Sailor photo by Paige Kieffer)

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office has been advised by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Regional Field Office Director Scott Baniecke that ICE will not publish a Declined Detainer Outcome Report for the week of Feb. 18-24, due to a pattern of significant errors and inaccuracies in reports issued Jan. 28-Feb. 17.

On March 23, after the first ICE report was issued, Sheriff Rich Stanek and County Attorney Mike Freeman detailed the sheriff’s office policies and practices related to the detention of undocumented residents in Hennepin County, explained the constitutional restrictions, and highlighted inaccuracies within the report.

They pointed out the two county inmates included in the list of “declined detainers” section of the report were both picked up and detained by ICE immediately upon their release from the county jail.

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one is worth two thousand,” Stanek said. “These two instances demonstrate that the Sheriff’s Office cooperated with ICE to the fullest extent of the law. In fact, we call ICE every time we learn that an inmate of interest to them is being released.”

In the week three report, ICE served 15 detainer requests to the sheriff’s office. Of the 15, only four were picked up by ICE, one was transferred to another county, eight were released because ICE elected not to pick them up. One is still in custody facing first degree criminal sexual conduct charges.

“The statistics from our agency are quite convincing,” Stanek said. “ICE is creating a sanctuary for criminals in Hennepin County. Even when they notify our agency that an inmate is of interest to them, ICE agents pick up only about one-third of the inmates they ask us to detain. We have examples of ICE not picking up inmates with a ‘Final Order of Removal,’ a history of violent crime or dozens of arrests, and even inmates who have been in ICE custody several times before.”

On March 30, Stanek and several other sheriffs traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with Acting Under Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security Chip Fulghum and Executive Associate Director for ICE Philip Miller to express their concerns. The sheriffs re-affirmed that their agencies cooperate with all law enforcement partners, including ICE, to the fullest extent of the law and the United States Constitution.

“It is frustrating when the public is misled about the work of our local Sheriff’s Offices; as elected officials we have no alternative but to publicly set the record straight,” Stanek said. “The men and women who work for the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office take great pride in their duties, and that includes enforcing the law while also following it. They deserve an apology; but suspending the inaccurate reporting is the next best thing.”

-Compiled by Paige Kieffer. Contact Paige Kieffer at [email protected]