If restricting local law enforcement from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests is supposed to make communities safer, as some immigration advocates and law enforcement officials suggest, I’d like to hear them reconcile their beliefs with the actions of Texas’ Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez.
Hernandez, sworn in as the newly elected head of the Travis County Sheriff’s Department last month, almost immediately adopted an anti-cooperation policy prohibiting her department from honoring nearly all ICE detainer requests.
“The public must be confident that local law enforcement is focused on local public safety, not on federal immigration enforcement,” Hernandez said.
Detainer requests are notices sent by ICE to local jurisdictions informing them of its desire to take physical custody of an individual in local custody.
The sheriff’s new policy stipulated that only four exempted crimes—murder, capital murder, aggravated sexual assault, and human trafficking—would be grounds for her department to honor an ICE detainer.
Unfortunately for the alleged victim of Hugo Javier Gallardo-Gonzalez and the community at large, accusations of repeatedly sexually abusing a child did not meet the criminal standard for ICE cooperation set by the sheriff.
Gallardo-Gonzalez was arrested this past Sunday, accused of sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s young daughter beginning in 2014. The abuse is alleged to have continued for over a year.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement submitted a detainer request to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office in order to take custody of Gallardo-Gonzalez, but their request was denied.
Gallardo-Gonzalez subsequently made bail the next day and is now waiting to be released once outfitted with a GPS monitor.