Montgomery County, Maryland, has quietly rolled back its policy barring Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from accessing secure areas of its jail in order to detain illegal immigrants.
Effective immediately, Montgomery County correctional officers have been instructed to grant ICE clearance to "identified areas" of the jail to "ensure that transfers are conducted in a safe environment," a Montgomery County spokesman confirmed to ABC7 Friday evening.
That level of cooperation, however, mandates that ICE submit an immigration detainer and arrive at the jail along Seven Locks Road in Rockville prior to the defendant's scheduled release time.
As WJLA noted, the jail will not hold immigrants with detainers once they are discharged from the jail. That means immigrants with detainers could still elude ICE officers.
In July, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, a Democrat, signed into law "The Promoting Community Trust Executive Order," which both prohibited law enforcement from asking people about their immigration status and largely banned ICE from entering the Montgomery County jail to detain immigrants with detainers.
But the order was controversial because Montgomery County has experienced high levels of violent crime at the hands of illegal immigrants, particularly sexual assault crime like rape.
In fact, within weeks of Elrich implementing the anti-ICE measure, seven illegal immigrants were arrested and charged with sexual assault crime, the Washington Post reported. An eighth quickly followed.
The policy resulted in protests, and the spike in violent crime was even highlighted by the White House.
Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, even challenged Elrich to a debate.
"I'll defend children and crime victims, Elrich can defend rapists and murders who shouldn't even be in this country," Cuccinelli said. Elrich did not accept the offer.