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Gallatin County law enforcement seeing more ICE holds in detention center

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Posted at 4:37 PM, Jan 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-19 13:28:17-05

BOZEMAN — Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer says that he and his deputies are seeing more illegal immigrants in the community, and therefore more ICE holds are being placed on individuals that arrive in our local jails.

“We’re seeing a lot of illegal individuals from multiple countries, not just Mexico, but certainly seeing plenty of illegals in Montana, and certainly from Bozeman,” Springer said.

As of mid-January, the current population of inmates at the Gallatin County Detention Center is 163 and out of those, six individuals have ICE holds.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an ICE hold, or detainer, is issued when the Department of Homeland Security intends to assume custody of a person from another federal, state, or local law enforcement agency. DHS can request that the inmate be detained for up to an additional 48 hours after they would otherwise be released.

“So oftentimes, typically we are running into the other local crimes, whether that’s a traffic event or if it’s some kind of domestic situation, who knows what it will be,” Springer says.

During the processing of an inmate, deputies and officials will start to see signs that alert them to potential status issues, Springer says. For instance, not having a driver’s license, failing to come up in their system, or coming up in the system as an undocumented individual. 

Following processing, Homeland Security is contacted, and Sheriff Springer says it’s up to immigration officials to place a hold on the individuals.

In terms of the charges these individuals are facing in the states, Sheriff Springer emphasizes that every case is different and there are multiple factors to take into consideration, but the individual will go through the court system and if they are found guilty on the crime they’ve committed in Montana, generally they will serve their time in Montana. Following their sentence, ICE would then be notified. 

Sheriff Springer goes on to highlight different programs for migrants here legally on working visas and employers that hire legal workers.

“Oftentimes you see people saying, ‘They’re all illegal!’ And that’s not true; there are a lot of people working here on proper visas, on legal documentation,” Springer said.