ICE apologizes for mistakes in detainer report

     In this Feb. 9, 2017, photo provided U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE agents at a home in Atlanta, during a targeted enforcement operation aimed at immigration fugitives, re-entrants and at-large criminal aliens. (Bryan Cox/ICE via AP)

    In this Feb. 9, 2017, photo provided U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE agents at a home in Atlanta, during a targeted enforcement operation aimed at immigration fugitives, re-entrants and at-large criminal aliens. (Bryan Cox/ICE via AP)

    Franklin County was listed as one of the least cooperative jurisdictions in the U.S. during a week when the county actually transferred inmates into ICE custody.

    Immigration authorities say data problems caused inaccuracies in a recent compliance report, and apologized to one Pennsylvania county Friday for the errors.

    The weekly reports are part of President Donald Trump’s immigration initiatives.

    They detail how local law enforcement agencies all over the U.S. respond to requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold inmates suspected of being in the country illegally for up to two extra days.

    Pennsylvania authorities generally won’t do that due to liability concerns, but some cooperate with ICE in other ways.

    That includes Franklin County, which provides jail population reports to ICE and access to inmates for interviews.

    But the first ICE detainer report, published earlier this week, listed Franklin County as one of the nation’s least cooperative jurisdictions based on the assumption that all detainer requests issued during the week ending Feb. 3 would be declined.

    In truth, the county transferred two inmates into ICE custody the same week and didn’t decline any detainers.

    County officials provided an email from Stephen Ritchey, assistant director at ICE’s office in York, attributing errors to data integrity issues.

    “The issue …  is being reviewed to ensure that similar inaccuracies are not distributed in the future,” Ritchey wrote. “On a personal note, I would like to apologize for the unwarranted attention this issue has placed on you and your staff. [We’ve] had a strong working relationship … for many years, and despite various policies and practices, we have always worked together to keep our communities safe.  I look forward to continuing the relationship with your facility in the future.”

    It’s unclear whether the data problem also contributed to information in the first report about Philadelphia and Chester County also flagged for being wrong.

    Officials from ICE’s national headquarters say any corrections will be public next week., when the agency’s due to release its next report.

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