Commissioner says Franklin County on ICE’s list leaves wrong impression

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CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement report lists Franklin County as "non-cooperative" with the agency, in regards to detainer requests.

A detainer request is when an agency asks a prison to hold a person in custody.

According to ICE's Declined Detainer Outcome Report, Franklin County is on its top 10 list of counties nationwide that deny detainer requests for removable immigrants.

The report showed a high volume of detainer requests to Franklin County, five total, between January 28 and February 3.

The chairman of the board of commissioners, Dave Keller, said the county's records only show three requests made.

Keller said, "Two of the individuals were turned over, transferred to ICE's custody within a few days, and the third person is still in custody at the Franklin County Jail."

The report also describes the county as a "non-cooperative jurisdiction."

Keller said, "It creates the impression that we are releasing individuals out onto the street that ICE has an interest in and who may be violating immigration law and that just isn't the case."

He said Franklin County officials provide ICE with a list of people in the prison daily. Then ICE tells county officials who they have an interest in.

"In every case we have transferred that person into their custody," Keller said.

In Franklin County, policy requires a judge to sign off on the detainer in order for the prison to hold a person.

Keller said, "That's based on a court case in Lehigh County where the county was found liable for $95,000 because a detainer request was made that was not signed by a judge."

It turns out that person the detainer request was for was here legally.

Keller said prison officials will even notify ICE when a person of interest is scheduled to be released.

"We feel good that we're cooperating as best we can and we're going to continue to do that," he said.

Keller said Franklin County officials have reached out to ICE to get more information about the report. He hopes the county can work with ICE to present the report differently to not give a wrong impression.