County jail to hold immigrants longer for ICE

Jeff Siegel

ELKHART — The Elkhart County Jail will hold detained immigrants for up to 72 hours, rather than the previous limit of 48 hours, following a request from U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement, Sheriff Jeff Siegel announced Thursday. 

Siegel, in a statement, said he has allowed an amendment to the existing contract with the U.S. Marshals Service to hold no more than two individuals at a time up to 72 hours.

The intention of this increase in time of 24 hours is to allow those who have been arrested for crimes, and held on a 48-hour detainer over the weekend, to be picked up by ICE, the sheriff said.

An ICE detainer is a written request that a local jail or other law enforcement agency detain an individual for additional time, typically 48 hours, after their release date in order to provide ICE agents extra time to decide whether to take the individual into federal custody for removal purposes, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU of Indiana criticized Siegel’s decision, pointing out that it is voluntary for the Sheriff’s Office to work with ICE, absent a judicial warrant.

“This type of coordination with ICE discourages immigrants – along with their U.S.-citizen children, neighbors, co-workers, and friends – from reporting crimes and serving as witnesses, creating more fear and less cooperation with local police,” the ACLU said in a statement.

According to the ACLU, ICE uses detainers to imprison people “without due process and, in many cases, without any charges pending or probable cause of any violation.”

That raises serious constitutional concerns, the ACLU said. The organization recommends that law enforcement agencies decline to effectuate any ICE detainer request absent a judicial warrant in order to minimize the risk and liability of holding a person in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Siegel said the agreement with ICE is not going to go further than the 72 hours.

“I have no intentions to hold detained individuals for Immigration Customs and Enforcement on any long-term basis and will not allow our facilities to exceed the stated agreement,” he said. 

Nor would the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office increase its assistance to ICE in any other way, he said. 

“My officers will not be actively seeking or pursuing individuals based on their immigration status,” Siegel said. 

Follow Rasmus S. Jorgensen on Twitter @ReadRasmus

(5) comments


Should I be clear in thought that the Sheriff's department would aid in emergency situation with ICE agents? The last 2 sentences of the article do not make that fact clear!


How long has this agreement been in place? And why does it take an article from the Elkhart Truth to uncover this? Seems like an underhanded way to get around the fact that the community adamantly opposed building a new ICE facility in Elkhart County.

RasmusSJorgensen Staff

To be clear, the Sheriff's Office released information about this new agreement themselves. They were not trying to hide that.

As for how long the agreement about 48-hour detainers has existed, the Sheriff's Office told me that it goes back much longer than the discussion of an Elkhart County ICE facility. They said that the Sheriff's Office has been working with ICE since that agency was created in 2003.

I was also told that there has been no significant increase in the number of ICE detainers since the talk of the local facility in 2017.


There is probably a full policy available that you could get, if your interested fire- this appears to be a single change. I don't understand why they would have a policy to detain no more that two at a time. I know costs may be a concern but if several people are picked up that should be turned over to ICE then they should be held if at all possible. I would think that we should be reimbursed for all costs by the federal government for any holdings.


So I guess my question is...what assistance does sheriff's department offer ICE? And will the Sheriff's dept. offer emergency assist to ICE agents? Sounds a bit vague!

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