Urgent: County Sheriffs say no to ICE holds

Dear ROPnetters,

In the last 24 hours, 9 counties in Oregon have announced that they are no longer honoring ICE holds.  This comes after a federal court ruling that states that Clackamas County violated the 4th Amendment when it held a woman in their custody based solely on an ICE request. (See this article from The Oregonian for more details). ICE holds, requests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the local or state jails to hold someone when they otherwise would have been released from detention, are one of the key ways that ICE deports people.

The recent court ruling creates liability for the county for violating civil rights of those they have detained on ICE holds.  This could set a precedent with national implications.

Since yesterday’s ruling, Sheriffs in Clackamas, Washington, Multnomah, Gillam, Marion, Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, and Deschutes counties announced that they will no longer hold people to be interrogated on their immigration status at the request of ICE.

So far, there is no word from the Sheriffs of the other counties in Oregon about what they plan to do.  This is a great time for your community to set up a meeting with your county’s Sheriff to either thank them for standing up or to ask them to stop honoring ICE holdsLet’s get ahead of the anti-immigrant backlash and be the first to talk to our Sheriffs.

Can you set up a meeting? Can you make a call to your county Sheriff? Are you willing to send out an action alert to your community? See the steps to setting up a meeting with your Sheriff and the talking points below to help start the conversation! Let us know if you talk to your Sheriff and what you learn! 

Together we can make this an opportunity to build momentum.  How can we engage others? What ideas do you have to make this a springboard for stopping deportations and advancing immigrant rights?Please share with us your ideas and plans for building from this moment and let’s develop a strategy together.

Keep a lookout for more information and action steps from us soon. We look forward to hearing from you!

Take care,
Sam, Rosa, and Julie


1. If you don’t know already, look up you’re the contact information for your Sheriff. 

2. Assemble your team. You should have several people that can represent your human dignity group.  Also, think about recruiting other supporters from the community who can share personal stories about how ICE Holds have damaged your community. A team of 4-6 human dignity members and guests is a good number for going in to meet with your legislator.

3. Make your appointment. Scheduling a visit can be as easy as sending an email or making a phone call, but it can sometimes take perseverance. Be respectful, but don’t give up.  Call ROP if you run into obstacles in scheduling a visit.

4. Make your agenda. This is a great time to get down your 2-minute “elevator speech” about your group, what you stand for, and why you are there. Use the talking points below and practice with each other to keep it clear and brief. Make sure that all members agree and can vocalize a clear and shared message about your group.

5. Do your homework. Read the Oregonian’s Article on ICE Holds, go over our talking points, and don’t be afraid to ask directly for your Sheriff to stop honoring ICE holds and to make it public!

6. Report back to ROP. We love to know what you’re up to – and if you are able to get a sense of if you Sheriff is hot or cold to our priorities. This will help us to work together across the state to figure out a strategy to push all Oregon Sheriffs to do the right thing for our communities and to stop honoring ICE holds.


(1) Sheriffs in Oregon should not honor ICE holds because the Sheriff’s office could be sued for violating a person’s constitutional rights. A federal court for the District of Oregon stated that honoring ICE holds that are not accompanied by a warrant is unconstitutional. It is a violation of an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights. In a recent court case, Miranda-Olivares v. Clackamas County, a woman was held in the custody of the Clackamas County sheriff’s office beyond the required time to detain her because ICE issued a detainer request to the sheriff’s office. Ms. Miranda-Olivares sued Clackamas County. The federal court decided that Ms. Miranda-Olivares’ Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the County incarcerated her without probable cause, based on ICE’s request to detain her. Because Clackamas County violated her constitutional rights, they will have to pay her.

When a Sheriff’s office detains someone based on ICE’s request, they could be sued and forced to pay up for violating constitutional rights

(2)   ICE holds are not mandatory; they are merely requests that a local law enforcement agency cooperate with ICE in detaining a person. This fact has been confirmed by multiple federal courts (in the court cases Galarza v. Szalczyk and most recently in Miranda-Olivares v. Clackamas County), as well as by ICE itself (in this letter from ICE to members of Congress). Your sheriff does not “have to” comply with ICE’s request to keep someone in their custody.

(3)   Nine counties’ Sheriff’s departments in Oregon have recently announced that they will no longer honor ICE holds. Does your Sheriff’s office want to be the one that continues to honor this unjust practice, that has been publically exposed as a violation of people’s rights?

(4)   Honoring ICE holds breaks community trust and tears apart families. People cannot trust the police if they fear that contact with law enforcement will lead to their deportation.

(5) This is a chance for sheriffs to do the right thing. Stop tearing apart families, stop needlessly deporting people, and keep local resources for local causes.

(6) Honoring ICE holds is a waste of local government’s money. The vast majority of the costs incurred when local law enforcement detains someone at ICE’s request are not reimbursed by ICE or the federal government