• Lynn Tramonte

Constitution Wins: Kent County (MI) Sheriff Changes ICE Transfer Policy

Time for Congress to Cut Detroit ICE Budget and Rein Agency In


Grand Rapids, MI – The Kent County Sheriff’s Department is issuing its loyalty to the U.S. Constitution, requiring the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement to get a court order before they transfer a prisoner to ICE custody.


The critical policy change came after the Sheriff’s office was involved in detaining a U.S. citizen--a military combat veteran--at the request of ICE. The detention was illegal. Multiple courts have found that state and local police violate the Constitution when they go along with these requests.


Movimiento Cosecha Grand Rapids, the ACLU of Michigan, and the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center organized to achieve the policy change within the Kent County Sheriff’s Department. After investigating the incident, Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young admitted that "ICE detained him on the basis of either incomplete or inaccurate information — information that is their duty to collect and verify."


Sheriff LaJoye-Young continued:

The additional requirement of independent judicial review will increase the level of oversight of ICE detention requests in Kent County. Our justice system is built on a balance of authority and oversight. For that reason, we advocate for the requirement that all ICE detention requests be subject to judicial review at a national level.

What does ICE have to say about the matter? After commenting last week that “no further action would be taken” in looking into the case, they are now hiding behind the government shutdown. The Detroit ICE Field Office has jurisdiction over both Michigan and Ohio, and this particular office is never forthcoming.

Rebecca Adducci, Director of Detroit ICE, is notorious for instigating actions that violate individuals’ rights and any sense of human decency--and fostering a culture of impunity among her agents. When Adducci spent just a short time running the Boston Field Office, she immediately attracted criticism from judges and the Boston Globe editorial board, as well as the broader community.


Adducci is back in Detroit now, overseeing un-American operations in Michigan and Ohio, such as the detention of U.S. citizens and the forced removal of refugees from Mauritania to a country where they are being arrested and tortured.


“ICE has become a purely political police force that will bend or break any rule necessary in order to deport someone--even if that person is a U.S. citizen and military veteran. By changing the way they work with ICE, the Kent County Sheriff is upholding the Constitution. More law enforcement agencies in Michigan and Ohio should follow Kent County’s lead--or fine themselves liable for ICE’s mistakes,” said Lynn Tramonte, Director of the Ohio Immigrant Alliance.


“Our senators and representatives in Ohio and Michigan also need to hold Detroit ICE accountable. Right now, Congress has given Director Rebecca Adducci a blank check to run roughshod over our communities. The Detroit ICE Field Office needs strong oversight, accountability, and a cut in its budget to ensure that it follows the law and focuses on common sense priorities.”


Read the Michigan organizations’ letter to Kent County here, and the response from Kent County Sheriff’s Office here. Read more about Rebecca Adducci’s record at the Detroit ICE Field Office below.

  • ICE Report on FY18 Deportation “Statistics”: We Are Deeply Disgusted and Utterly Ashamed (Ohio Immigrant Alliance)

  • Release Ansly Damus, and Cut Detroit ICE’s Budget (Lynn Tramonte)

  • Study Shows Ohio is Worst State for Undocumented Immigrants (Lynn Tramonte)

  • Archive of Adducci’s Worst Hits

Follow the Ohio Immigrant Alliance on Twitter @tramontela