RICHMOND, Va. -- A CBS 6 Problem Solvers investigation found that a very small percentage of people who are arrested in Chesterfield, Henrico and Richmond and identified by immigration enforcement as people they want to detain, are ever picked up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
As President Donald Trump works to ramp up immigration enforcement, CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit asked people in Central Virginia for their best guess as to how many undocumented immigrants the feds picked up for deportation here over the past few years.
“I would say not that many,” Desiree Berry said.
“I feel like 10 maybe, like not that many,” Kyle Paris said.
Data provided to CBS 6 from the Sheriff’s Offices in Chesterfield, Henrico and Richmond shows that between 2014 and 2016, ICE placed the most detainers in Chesterfield: 370.
When ICE places a detainer on an inmate that means they intend to take custody of that person when they would otherwise be released.
“I just think it’s because of Chesterfield’s population and our demographics,” Chesterfield Sheriff Karl Leonard said.
Of those 370 inmates with detainers placed on them, ICE picked up just 38 of them from Chesterfield.
However, Chesterfield sends a large number of their inmates to Riverside Regional Jail to be housed, and they don’t follow up to see if ICE picked them up from Riverside.
The second largest number of detainers placed on inmates by ICE was in Henrico: 159.
“We have an open door policy with ICE and let them come in. We make their job easy,” Henrico Sheriff Mike Wade said.
ICE placed by far the fewest detainers on inmates at the Richmond Jail.
Data provided by the Richmond Sheriff’s Office shows the jail processed more than 1,200 non-citizens between 2014 and 2016, yet ICE only placed detainers on 31 of them, and ultimately picked up just 13 of them.
“They have a problem where some are wanted for some real serious crimes, and it seems like they will take those, and say hey, ok, he’s out of here we’ll come get him. And then the other ones… misdemeanor, domestic, we’re not going to. Either take them, or you’re not going to take them,” Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody, Jr. said.
Both Sheriff Leonard and Sheriff Woody said ICE doesn’t have the resources to do their job effectively.
In fact, the data shows ICE picked up just 29 percent of the inmates they placed detainers on in Chesterfield, Henrico and Richmond between 2014 and 2016.
“The task they’ve been given with the staff they have to do this, nobody could do the job right,” Sheriff Leonard said.
Sheriff Leonard, Sheriff Wade and Sheriff Woody all said they would not provide undocumented immigrants a sanctuary where they would not hand them over to immigration enforcement.
CBS 6 News is working for you. Click here to email a tip to the CBS 6 Problem Solvers. Be sure to leave us your name, phone number and detailed description of the problem. You can also leave a message by calling 804-254-3672.