OKLAHOMA CITY — Ahead of the Oklahoma County Jail Trust’s scheduled vote to revisit the optional presence of ICE officers in the Oklahoma County Jail, the Oklahoma County Board of County Commissioners pre-empted actions by that body, instead choosing to keep ICE officers in a crowded booking area during a pandemic and furthering Oklahoma’s federal entanglement, despite the liability of engaging with ICE detainers, given the long history of misidentification, racial profiling, and other complaints raised by Oklahoma County residents. In response to today’s vote, the ACLU of Oklahoma issued the following statement.
The following can be attributed to Nicole McAfee, Director of Policy and Advocacy:
“The ACLU of Oklahoma is deeply concerned by today’s vote, a clear attempt to garner political attention ahead of the November election, at the expense of all people forced to encounter the Oklahoma County Jail, especially immigrant residents of our County. The choice to continue giving federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers office space in the jail, especially during this pandemic, is already egregious. Today’s vote by the Oklahoma Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to opt into the illegal and predatory practice of fulfilling immgration detainers, also referred to as ICE holds, is a dangerous infringement on Fourth Amendment rights, and an unnecessary health risk with the potential to exacerbate the jail’s uncontrolled COVID spread.
The choice to force local law enforcement to further aid in ICE’s federal efforts without judicial oversight further strains trust between residents and officers. Studies suggest increased national immigration enforcement activities make it more difficult to protect local communities from crime, because crime reporting plummets out of fear that they, too, will be detained. Today’s vote makes all of our communities less safe. Detainer requests are not warrants signed by a judge, and they do not establish a person’s citizenship status. The detentions that today’s vote requires the jail to pursue are illegal and predatory, and BOCC and the trust which is charged with jail management, should immediately revisit this decision.”