NM county ends federal immigration holds at jail

New Mexico

HOBBS, N.M (AP) — A southeastern New Mexico county is no longer cooperating with federal immigration authorities on inmates held at its jail.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports Lea County Detention Center now is requiring more than a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer, or ICE hold, for inmates suspected of being in the country illegally. The jail now requires active warrants to house inmates, which are much less common than ICE hold requests.

It’s a shift from a few years ago when the conservative-leaning county cooperated with Obama administration-era policies on immigration holds in jails.

Lea County manager Mike Gallagher says ICE detainers were previously honored for up to 48 hours to allow ICE to investigate a person over possible immigration violations.

Gallagher said Lea County’s shift in policy was a result of a federal court case in Albuquerque.

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