Immigration still remains a hotly debated topic in American politics. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have tried multiple ways to get state and local law enforcement agencies to help them detain undocumented immigrants. While some states and cities have complied with these requests, others have not. Connecticut has long been considered a “sanctuary state” due to its unwillingness to help ICE detain immigrants. The Trust Act that was passed in 2013 details Connecticut’s policy of a hands-off approach when it comes to ICE. However, even with these policies in place, the state has provided information about criminal cases involving immigrants to federal agencies for years.
What Is the Trust Act?
The most common way ICE asks for help with detaining immigrants is by issuing a civil detainer to law enforcement agencies. Historically, Connecticut has not willingly provided information to ICE about immigrants. The Trust Act actually prevented local law enforcement agencies in Connecticut from detaining immigrants on the basis of a civil detainer, unless the immigrant was on a federal terrorist watch list, had been convicted of a Class A or B felony, or had a judicial order issued against them.
Connecticut May Actually Be Helping ICE
Even though Connecticut has laws preventing law enforcement agencies from detaining an immigrant solely based on their status, the state has been helping ICE in other ways. When former Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy was in office four years ago, his administration entered into an agreement with ICE, granting it access to the information that is contained in Connecticut’s law enforcement database. Even more recently, the state entered into an agreement to provide information directly to ICE in 2018. The agreement allows ICE to access the Connecticut On-Line Law Enforcement Communications Teleprocessing system, also known as COLLECT.
This database contains information such as court data, probation information, protective orders, Department of Motor Vehicles data, hunting and fishing license information, boating certifications, and other information. This information is used by ICE to track and locate immigrants who ICE says are “criminal illegal aliens” who are “a threat to the safety of the public.”
Contact a Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney
Being an undocumented immigrant in the United States is not an easy life. Things can become even more difficult for those who are charged with or convicted of a crime. If you are facing criminal charges, you need to immediately contact a skilled Hartford criminal defense lawyer. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we represent all types of defendants, including documented and undocumented immigrants. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.