Lessons on Immigration Policy Changes from the Deep South ... Wow

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Maybe in Tucson, getting the Pima County Sheriff's Department or the Tucson Police Department to change its policies calling Border Patrol/ICE when stopping undocumented folks will take lawsuits and a city council with some guts—not just laying under Border Patrol vehicles to call attention to detention and separating families.

Let's look at Monday's decision by the New Orleans Parish Sheriff's Department. The New York Times reported that after a "lawsuit filed in federal court in 2011 by two men who had spent months in Orleans Parish Prison on expired detention requests. One of them, Mario Cacho, was held for more than 160 days after having finished a three-week sentence for disturbing the peace."

Read the entire story here, but here's part of the story that explains the change in the sheriff's department policy and a decree from the New Orleans City Council:

Under the policy in New Orleans, the sheriff’s office will decline all ICE detention requests except when a person is being held on certain specific felony charges. The sheriff will also require federal immigration agents to notify a detainee’s lawyer before any interview concerning an ICE investigation. The policy bars the agents from entering certain parts of the jail without a criminal warrant or court order.

While the federal consent decree orders the creation of a system to manage detainers, the New Orleans City Council, citing budgetary and constitutional concerns, passed a resolution in May urging Sheriff Marlin N. Gusman of Orleans Parish not to honor detainers at all. At the time, the sheriff said he was re-examining his policy.

The new policy went into effect last month, but it was also a part of the settlement of the lawsuit in federal court, making it binding in a way that some of the other ordinances around the country are not.

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