Because many different accounts of the topic of Las Vegas being a sanctuary city have been brought to the attention of the Las Vegas Tribune by those looking for answers or clarification, the newspaper took those questions directly to the city’s top officials to clear up all doubts.
During the appearance of city councilmen Stavros Anthony and Bob Beers, on two different radio shows — Face The Tribune and Conservative America, with Chris Garcia — both city elected officials confirmed that the City of Las Vegas is not a sanctuary city.
Furthermore, in order to be accurate, the Las Vegas Tribune reached out to the office of the Las Vegas Mayor, Carolyn Goodman, who confirmed once more that Las Vegas is not a sanctuary city.
Through a spokesman, Mayor Goodman’s response was that the city of Las Vegas is not a sanctuary city and the city’s jail facility is in compliance with federal regulations enforced by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Mayor Goodman added that she is passionate about finding a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
“We comply with ICE program 287(g), which requires notification to ICE if undocumented immigrants who have committed a crime are booked into the city of Las Vegas Jail,” confirmed Mayor Goodman.
The city’s Public Safety Department has always complied with this notification process and continues to do so after the new executive order was issued.
This DOES NOT mean that the Deputy City Marshals have ever, or will now or in the future, arrest people simply for being undocumented. City Marshals enforce the law at city parks and facilities, but do not make arrests or detain individuals based on their immigration status.
For years, and under previous city mayors as well as other sheriff’s administrations, the police have not asked citizens for their immigration status and have always maintained that pattern.
However, if someone is arrested for a crime, and through the booking process it is determined that the individual is an undocumented immigrant, the Department of Public Safety notifies ICE as required by federal law.
There are lots of reports that Las Vegas is a sanctuary city, and most rely upon a July 2014 news release from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) that explains how that agency would handle notifications to ICE, due to questions about possible Fourth Amendment violations of unreasonable search and seizure.
Recently Las Vegas Tribune columnist Gordon Martines, who previously worked as a Detective for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for 39 years, wrote in his front page column “by refusing to enforce Illegal Immigration Laws, we will have to endure constant congregations of illegal aliens, near or around large parking lots, and the constant intimidation of our senior population.”
Just this week Las Vegas Sun’s Thomas Moore reported, “Locally, law enforcement officers don’t arrest people on the basis that they’re undocumented, but [that] they comply with a federal holding system.”
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who has noted Las Vegas is not a “sanctuary city,” told the Las Vegas Sun “when someone is arrested here, his or her name is run through federal databases. If the person comes up as being deportable, the agency contacts its federal counterparts and places an additional 48-hour retainer on the inmates after they’re set to be released, to give the federal agents an opportunity to take custody of them.”
Lombardo said that the federal agents rarely respond because of a lack of resources, adding that holding the inmates longer would be unlawful; but sources inside the Clark County Detention Center tells the Las Vegas Tribune that officers with ICE are in the building more often now than ever.
On July 14, 2014, under the administration of Sheriff Douglas Gillespie, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, in an official press release, stated “Recent court decisions have raised Constitutional concerns regarding detention by local law enforcement agencies based solely on an immigration detainer request from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Until this area of the law is further clarified by the courts, effective immediately the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department will no longer honor immigration detainer requests unless one of the following conditions are met: 1. Judicial determination of Probable Cause for that detainer; or 2. Warrant from a judicial officer. “This change has nothing to do with me taking a stand on the immigration issue,” Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie also told the Las Vegas Sun. “It has more to do with a situation we’ve found ourselves in and this is the best thing to do until the feds figure it out… The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department continues to work with our federal law enforcement partners and will continue to provide professional service to the Las Vegas community regardless of their immigration status in the United States.”
However, under the new administration, under Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, the situation seems to have changed more into the enforcement of the federal laws to protect the community.
Goodman provided a statement via Twitter in answer to an inquiry asking if Las Vegas is a sanctuary city.