PHOENIX— As previously announced, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office will no longer detain County jail inmates facing a civil immigration detainer beyond the period of time for detention authorized under Arizona State law. This conclusion and the resulting change in policy came after consultation with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO), which serves Maricopa County officials as their legal advisor.
MCAO surveyed recent cases around the country concerning similar circumstances. The legal issues involved may be best illustrated by the case of Mercado v. Dallas County, Texas. The Mercado case concluded that county officials without federal 287(g) authority may not rely on a civil immigration detainer to maintain custody of an individual beyond the time reasonably necessary for county officials to administrate and execute a state release order under state law.
This does not prevent any communications between County detention officials and ICE officials to notify ICE of a pending release and transfer custody at or within the timeframe of releasing an individual from state-based detention.