Orange City, Iowa — A while back we told you that the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office is among 26 sheriffs’ offices in the state that have decided that they will not hold someone for Immigration and Customs Enforcement — or “ICE” — if that person is not being held for other legal reasons, such as serving time, or on a judge’s order. Altena Sheriff

We had a chance to talk to Sioux County Sheriff Dan Altena about the new policy. He says that as the Sheriff he is also the administrator of the jail, and it’s his job to make sure they are following the law and that they are not holding people illegally.


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Altena says the ICE request is called a “detainer”, and was used when ICE was investigating a case for possible detention or deportation, and even when the jail did honor detainers, they were only valid for up to 48 hours.


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He says if the Immigration officials are there when the person is released, they can pick them up at that time, since they will be in the public, but the jail can no longer hold someone after they have satisfied the local charges by being released on bond or by serving their time.

The Sheriff says illegal immigration has been a tough issue in this area. He says there were even accusations of racial profiling. But they addressed those issues in Sioux County in 2008 with a task force. He says it’s almost a catch-22.


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He tells his view is that something needs to be done.


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