El Paso County to appeal ICE detention ruling, says agency has been 'less than reliable'

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - El Paso County said Tuesday will appeal a ruling issued by a judge ordering Sheriff Bill Elder to stop holding inmates for immigration authorities even after they posted bail, but the county also had strong words criticizing Immigration and Customs Enforcement's commitment to a partnership in the area.

County spokesperson Dave Rose issued a statement Tuesday following Judge Eric Bentley's issuance of a temporary restraining order that prevented Elder from detaining suspects of breaking immigration laws if they've posted bail for their initial charge. Rose said county commissioners directed El Paso County Attorney Amy Folsom to appeal the ruling.

The county said the ruling, which stems from a lawsuit against the sheriff, needs to be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Colorado. The county says the issues in this lawsuit will have a "tremendous impact" on the safety of the county.

In the same statement, Rose says Elder has "stood steadfastly with ICE to assist in fulfilling ICE's requests to detain individuals deemed removable from the country under federal law."

But Rose lamented that "ICE has chosen not to honor its obligations to defend or stand in the place of the Sheriff in the current litigation," despite a formal written agreement to house federal detainees. "The federal agency has proven to be a less than reliable partner regarding pursuing its own mission."

Rose said that lack of support is "troubling, but not entirely surprising."

Elder was ordered by the county not to comment on the case while it's being litigated.

Previous story: (AP)

A Colorado judge says a sheriff cannot keep people who have paid bond in jail for possible deportation by federal authorities.
District Court Judge Eric Bentley ruled Tuesday that El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder cannot use requests from immigration authorities to continue holding two men after they have paid bond.
The Colorado American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in February on behalf of the two men, arguing that the sheriff's office was improperly holding them after state law required their release.
Bentley's order grants the ACLU's request that the men be released as that lawsuit continues.
The sheriff's office argues that it was merely housing the immigrants on behalf of federal agents who may want to deport them.
A spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story said El Paso County was joined only by Adams County in honoring ICE detainer requests. El Paso County spokesperson Dave Rose issued a corrected statement Thursday clarifying that Adams County doesn't hold inmates based solely on ICE detainer requests or federal warrants.

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