Trending
MOST READ
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best Hookah Bar

Best Hookah Bar

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Texas Law Leaves Abortion Out of Reach for Many Women

Texas Law Leaves Abortion Out of Reach for Many Women

News: Texas’ sweeping abortion law has already eliminated all abortion clinics south of San Antonio, and the last clinic west of the city... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta 8/27/2014
How Rebates Have the Texas Film Industry Playing Catch Up To its Neighbors

How Rebates Have the Texas Film Industry Playing Catch Up To its Neighbors

Screens: See if you can spot the common thread that is pulling at the seams of the Texas film industry. On NBC’s The Night Shift, a stock-written staff... By Matt Stieb 8/27/2014
Cityscrapes: A race to the convention floor

Cityscrapes: A race to the convention floor

News: “Conventions go to the city which exerts the greatest efforts to secure them. San Antonio can get any convention that it goes after.” That was the position... By Heywood Sanders 8/27/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Migrant Nation

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement sought to screen Bexar County Jail visitors

ICE officials responded to repeated requests for comment late Tuesday, but failed to address any of the Current’s questions. The case also underlines disagreements between ICE and local law enforcement as ICE moves to up its local presence.

While Bexar County has willingly implemented Secure Communities, a fingerprint-sharing program designed to flag undocumented criminals booked in jail, the City of San Antonio hasn’t. SAPD Police Chief Bill McManus has expressed his deep unease with the program, saying it has begun to blur the line between public safety and immigration enforcement to the detriment of local policing.

According to ICE’s figures, since the program was implemented in Bexar County nearly 400 of the 1,725 taken into custody under Secure Communities had no criminal history, while 166 of the 1,147 immigrants deported had no criminal history. Despite this, some state lawmakers this session have pushed a measure that would mandate that every local law enforcement agency implement the program.

Still, ICE’s presence at the city-run Magistrate Court Detention Center predates Secure Communities, city emails show, where agents have patrolled for roughly three years looking for arrestees who may be subject to deportation.

While ICE’s operations at the detention center are meant to round up hardened criminals arrested for serious crimes who are eligible for deportation, what seems to have made the city squirm, according to the emails, is how those patrols have begun to snag immigrants whose offenses amount to nothing more than minor municipal warrants or unpaid traffic fines.

When city detention center staffers stopped holding immigrants with minor municipal charges for ICE, ICE got testy. An ICE agent emailed city staff in late June 2010, complaining the city failed to hold some inmates for ICE for even 20 to 30 minutes before releasing them.

However, even then, ICE was on the job. When the city released one undocumented immigrant from the Municipal Court Detention Center after she paid her outstanding traffic fines, ICE tracked her down without city help.

“Luckily,” the agent wrote, “ICE agents were able to locate her walking down the street six blocks away.” 

 

Staff Writer Michael Barajas’ column Migrant Nation appears in the Current monthly.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus