ICE in the PCADC

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department is required by State Law to verify the immigration status of persons housed in the Pima County Adult Detention Complex (PCADC) prior to their release.  A very small number of persons crosschecked through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) result in an Immigration Detainer being issued by ICE.  Generally, the daily population at the PCADC is about 1800.  During calendar year 2017, only 535 out of the 38,504, or 1.38% of inmates booked into the PCADC, had ICE Detainers placed on them. Issuance of ICE Detainers is a less frequent occurrence than most imagine.

Once the PCADC receives a court order directing the release of an inmate, the release process begins.  The Pima County Sheriff’s Department does not detain inmates based on ICE Detainers or Administrative Warrants. The procedure is to contact ICE once judicial orders are received to release an inmate with an Immigration Detainer or Administrative Warrant.  ICE has until the release process is complete to arrive and take custody.

In May 2017, in keeping with the long tradition of cooperation between the Pima County Sheriff’s Department and its federal partners, ICE was invited to stage staff members at the PCADC.  With ICE representatives in the jail, efficiency will be improved and a safe, seamless transfer of custody can be facilitated of those people ICE has probable cause to detain further. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department does not engage in proactive immigration enforcement; however, it does cooperate with its federal partners.  PCSD staff actively monitors the ICE representatives at the PCADC to ensure their activity is strictly limited in scope to the effective transfer of inmates with probable cause ICE Detainers.

This embedded approach strikes a balance between cooperation with ICE officials and maintaining constitutionally sound procedures.  When ICE chooses to take custody of a person, for whom they have issued a detainer, they are permitted to secure the detainee in the PCADC for a short period while awaiting transport to a federal detention center.  During this time, the detainees are in lawful custody of ICE.  The practice of embedding ICE officials in county jails is considered a model policy and best practice by the Major County Sheriffs of America and the National Sheriff’s Association.  This is because it is a constitutionally sound practice and ensures that persons who federal immigration officials have cause to detain are not released prematurely and prior to the completion of duties by ICE personnel.

ICE Contact Information

All questions regarding ICE policy and procedure should be directed to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

You can find the phone numbers and office locators at: ice.gov/contact