According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, counties have stopped accepting requests from federal immigration authorities to host detainees without a court order. It is "common practice" for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ask county sheriffs to detain individuals who lack proper immigration documents, even an individual is stopped only for traffic violations or state or local violations.

Local authorities detain individuals per ICE's requests, even when no charges are filed and without signed court orders from a judge.

"They have resulted in the illegal imprisonment of countless individuals -- including U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and Latinos in particular -- often without any charges pending, sometimes for days or weeks after they should have been released from custody," said ACLU of Iowa's Immigrants' Rights and Racial Justice Advocate Erica Johnson, via the Associated Press.

According to Syracuse University, approximately 3,000 individuals were detained by ICE officials in Iowa between 2012 and 2013, but 63 percent had no criminal history. Of the nearly 3,000 people, most were placed in 74 county jails, while a "few" were detained in cities or state prison facilities. The county with the most immigrant detainees was Polk, with 488, followed by Liam County with 206 people.

The 3rd U.S Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia noted that ICE can't force local authorities to detain individuals without a warrant. Due to the ruling, county officials are declining to house immigrant detainees from ICE without a judge's order. The ACLU of Iowa reported that 22 sheriffs vowed not to accept ICE's requests without a signed court order from a judge.

"In our jail our policy would not allow ICE to bring somebody into our facility and we would not hold them unless it dealt with a court order or warrant. As an association, as a group of sheriffs in the state of Iowa we have looked at this situation and have discussed it. The decision goes back to the individual sheriff and what they want to do for their county," said Iowa State Sheriffs' and Deputies Association President Don DeKock.

Meanwhile, undocumented immigrant children are also being placed in Iowa. The Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families reported that a number of undocumented immigrant children have been transported to the state. According to HHS' Office of Refugee Resettlement, 159 undocumented minors have been released in Iowa to sponsors, who are typically a parent or relative of the minor, while the child's immigration case is processed.

While 159 undocumented minors were sent to Iowa, the number is small in comparison to California's 3,150, Florida's 3,181, New York's 3,347 and Texas' 4,280. In total, between Jan. 1 and July 7, HHS released 30,340 undocumented minors to a sponsor.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 57,525 undocumented immigrant children under the age of 18 and traveling without a parent or guardian were apprehended between Oct. 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014. For 2015, the White House said up to 150,000 undocumented children will enter the U.S.


Correction: It is the counties of Iowa, not the state, that has stopped accepting requests from federal immigration authorities to host detainees without a court order.