ICE claims its highest deportation priority is someone who poses serious threats to public safety or national security. But 4 out of 5 immigration holds (“detainers”) were used against non-citizens who have either no criminal conviction, or had at most a misdemeanor or petty offense.
An immigration “detainer” is an ICE request that a local, state or federal police agency hold a non-citizen until ICE can take that person into custody. ICE used “detainers” against half a million people in 2012 and 2013. Half the detainers were used against people with no conviction at all.
The most common offenses were traffic violations, including DWIs. The detainer information was reported by TRAC, Syracuse University’s data gathering, research and distribution organization.