ICE budget mandates filter down to local jail

Two men arrested for identity theft and forgery Tuesday have been released from the Marshall County Jail, having had their Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold lifted as part of budget constraints handed down from the federal government.

Marshall County Chief Jailer Steve Hoffman said the jail released Jose Mendoza-Garcia, 27, and Juan Mendoza, 45, both of Marshalltown, Thursday.

The men are just two of more than 2,000 undocumented immigrants across the county who have been released since mid-February due to budget cuts, according to U.S Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Homeland Security released the number Friday, contradicting previously claims by the White House that the number of immigrants released for budget reasons since Feb. 15 was significantly lower.

Hoffman said the jail has not had to release many detainees – fewer than 10 – because of the cutbacks, but that the number of ICE detainees it has seen since last year has decreased significantly.

The jail released its detainees within days following Congress’s announcement of its budget cuts.

The jail houses two types of criminals for immigration purposes: those who local police arrest for criminal charges and those who ICE houses in the jail while they await a decision on their immigration status.

Those detainees police arrest for unrelated crimes serve out their sentence before the county turns them over to ICE.

“They still owe their debt to society for their crime,” Hoffman said.

Since President Obama instituted his Deferred Action policy, Hoffman said he has seen the number of detainees ICE pays the jail to house drop significantly.

Prior to the Deferred Action policy, 30 to 40 of the jail’s 182 beds would house ICE detainees.

Although ICE has released many detainees into the public, Hoffman said they would effectively be on probation and have to check in regularly with ICE in lieu of being in custody.