State District Court Judge Eric Bentley ordered El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder to immediately stop relying on ICE immigration detainers or ICE administrative warrants as grounds for refusing to release ACLU of Colorado plaintiffs from custody when they post bond, complete their sentences, or otherwise resolve their criminal cases.
ACLU of Colorado filed a class action lawsuit on February 27 alleging that Sheriff Elder had unlawfully imprisoned dozens of individuals for days, weeks, and even months without legal authority, solely on the ground that ICE suspected that they were subject to deportation for civil immigration violations.
“Judge Bentley’s ruling confirmed that Colorado sheriffs have no legal authority to enforce federal immigration law and that when individuals have posted bond or resolved their criminal case, Colorado law requires that they be released.
“Colorado law authorizes sheriffs to deprive someone of their liberty only when there is probable cause of a crime, not for suspected civil violations of federal immigration law.
As the Judge’s ruling confirms, when sheriffs hold an individual for ICE for any amount of time past their release date, they make a new arrest for which they have no legal authority under Colorado law.