The plan in question would end the current practice of holding immigrants accused of petty crimes in jail pending a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement background check.
ICE official Nathalie Asher appeared at a meeting of the King County Council justice committee Tuesday to oppose the new plan, saying immigrants accused of minor offenses could well have a "more significant" criminal background and go on to commit further crime. She said her agency is better equipped than local authorities to examine a suspect's record, The Seattle Times reported.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorney's office in Seattle also opposed the measure, sending a letter to the council Monday stating that authorities have prosecuted 15 cases in the past 18 months that were generated because of ICE holds at the King County jail, KING 5 News reported.
The letter said those 15 defendants have a combined 85 prior criminal convictions including assault, indecent exposure, rape by force and numerous drug related convictions.
Supporters say the proposal pending in Washington state's largest county wouldn't end ICE-requested holds. The measure, sponsored by Councilman Larry Gossett, includes exceptions allowing the immigration holds for those facing more serious charges -- including violent crimes, sex crimes and serious traffic offenses.
Immigrants' rights advocates say Gossett's plan is necessary to prevent lengthy detentions and possible deportation for those who have not been convicted of crimes.
Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com
More Northwest Headlines
Man attacked by bear at Joint Base Lewis-McChord 5:52 p.m. More than 350 people evacuated as Lake Chelan wildfire grows Tourists flock to gawk at highway projects such as Seattle’s floating bridge Kitsap sewage spill prompts warning to stay out of water Medical examiner: Man who died in custody inhaled vomit Miss Tri-Cities loses crown after theft conviction revealed A look at the extreme West Coast weather With protest over, Shell prepares for Arctic Ocean drilling
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.