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ICE: Madera County jail not cooperating

Donald A. Promnitz/The Madera Tribune Complaints from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) alleged Madera County Jail failed to inform it of the release of inmates who were immigrants in the U.S. without legal permission.


Madera County District Attorney David A. Linn has announced the county’s compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after complaints that Madera County Jail had failed to cooperate.

“As of today, we are definitely not a sanctuary county,” Linn said Thursday, “in that we are in compliance with ICE requests.”

Linn met with ICE officials and law enforcement in a summit in February, in which they discussed local issues concerning cooperation with the processing of immigrants in the U.S. without legal permission who were in the Madera County Jail for serious offenses.

Linn had received complaints from ICE that the jail hadn’t complied in three years. This took the form of being unclear with ICE on the release times of offenders and failing to respond to inquiries. Linn also stated that lists of detainees who were not being acted upon were given to him after he received the complaint, including a top-25 list of their most serious cases.

“In that list, there were felony assault cases, rape cases, rapists, child molesters, grand theft felons, people that clearly under the statutes were classified as serious and dangerous criminals, which nobody had any desire to keep in this country that I could imagine,” Linn said, “but unfortunately, the jail was not honoring ICE requests, or ICE detainers coming in from the Department of Homeland Security.”

In light of ICE allegations, Linn expressed concern about the jail being less than a mile from Sierra Vista Elementary School.

Madera County Jail Chief Manuel Perez said he was only following guidelines set in place by the state’s TRUTH and TRUST Acts.

“Everybody has their interpretation to the truth,” Perez said. “That person has to be in the system.”

Perez was reportedly absent from the ICE summit, having given notice he would not be present within two hours of the meeting time.

While the jail is now cooperating, Linn said, he is not interested in sweeps by ICE in the county but only in the removal of criminal offenders.

“I did want them to take people who entered the country illegally, who had been found guilty, and for the most part had finished serving their sentence,” Linn said. “I wanted those people not to be released out the front door of the prison, but to be released directly to ICE.”

According to Linn, such offenders will be handed over to ICE, taken to Fresno, and flown back to their country of origin upon release.


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