Update from Chester County

July 3, 2019 – In an email from the Deputy Solicitor of Chester County to the Sheller Center, Kristen Mayock states that “[t]he Prison will NOT detain individuals or maintain continuing custody solely on an ICE request.” An ICE detainer is a request from ICE to a locality to hold an immigrant for pickup. In Galarza v. Szalczyk, the Third Circuit found that ICE detainers are not mandatory and that a county could be found liable for wrongfully detaining an individual pursuant a detainer. After Galarza, policies of non-cooperation between counties and ICE proliferated throughout Pennsylvania. Chester County states that it applies the principles of Galarza and it is neither the policy nor practice of the Prison to “hold an individual for a certain period of time for ICE.” Further, Chester County denies that its prison ever expressed interest in 287(g), which allows local officials to conduct federal immigration enforcement pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement with ICE. She does state, however, that they provide ICE access to daily population reports and that their policy of notification to ICE about an individual’s release “protects the safety and welfare of County residents.”

The original information contained in the report about Chester County holding immigrants for ICE and its interest in 287(g) is derived from ICE’s own notes. These notes are the results of FOIAs filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center