LEXINGTON, KY -- Since Mayor Jim Newberry's new immigration policy went into effect Feb. 1, the Fayette County Detention Center has been sending the names of 13 to 20 people born outside the United States to federal immigration officials each day, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Sunday edition.
And in the last three weeks, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Kentucky say they have put deportation detainers on an estimated 40 foreign-born nationals who are booked into the Lexington jail.
However, determining exactly how many foreign-born nationals are affected by Newberry's policy could prove difficult, reports the Herald-Leader.
Urban County Government officials, ICE, and local prosecutors are all gathering different numbers from different time frames that show how many immigrants are eligible for deportation.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gail Montenegro told the newspaper one thing is clear: "We have noticed an increase in activity in the past three weeks. As a result of Lexington's new policy, ICE anticipates a growing increase in detainers placed on criminal aliens at the jail."
Montenegro said the jail is faxing a daily list of foreign-born inmates to ICE -- by her agency's estimate more than 20 new arrests each day. That list includes people arrested for misdemeanors as well as felonies. The majority of those people eligible for deportation, Montenegro says, are felons, the Herald-Leader reports.
Susan Straub, a spokeswoman for Newberry, said that jail records show lower numbers than the ICE estimates: an average of 13 names of foreign-born nationals sent each day and 21 detainers in the last three weeks. Part of the reason for the confusion, Straub says, could be that detainer orders can be issued by ICE at any time while inmates are in jail, not just when they are arrested, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Copyright: The Lexington Herald-Leader