Woman who had a detainer from immigration officials is released from Douglas County Jail

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

The Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th St., is pictured Sept. 15, 2018.

A woman in the Douglas County Jail who had a detainer from immigration officials was released on Monday pursuant to a judge’s order.

The order, a writ of habeas corpus signed by Judge Carl A. Folsom III, was issued on Friday after the woman’s defense attorney, Samuel Allison-Natale, filed a petition for the writ after discovering the woman would be held on an immigration detainer after she bonded out of jail for a misdemeanor domestic battery charge, as the Journal-World reported. A writ of habeas corpus is a court order requiring authorities to justify why they are holding someone.

In Allison-Natale’s habeas petition, he argues, among other things, that the I-200 detainer form requires an additional arrest by the sheriff but does not articulate a specific crime that would give the sheriff jurisdiction to warrant an arrest.

Folsom’s writ of habeas corpus ordered Douglas County Sheriff Jay Armbrister to release the woman, Anabel Alonso-Martinez, 35, within 72 hours of the order or to explain in writing why Alonso-Martinez was being held.

After consulting with legal counsel, Armbrister chose not to respond to the order and instead released the woman at the end of the 72-hour period late Monday afternoon, said a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, George Diepenbrock.

In a release from the Kansas Holistic Defenders, where Allison-Natale is executive director, Allison-Natale said he was grateful for the sheriff’s decision to comply with the judge’s order.

“I am grateful to have a Sheriff, Jay Armbrister, who has publicly committed to the humane treatment of people in our community, regardless of their nationality or immigration status. When we brought this unlawful practice to his attention, Sheriff Armbrister took it seriously, and quickly referred the issue to legal counsel. Many other counties in Kansas are not as fortunate in this regard,” Allison-Natale said in the release.

In a letter to the Journal-World last week, Armbrister said that the detainer for Alonso-Martinez was an I-200 form signed by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent and that the form is not a warrant signed by a judge. He said Allison-Natale brought it to his attention that the form may not be legally binding on his office to enforce, and he told Allison-Natale that he would look deeper into the detainers and seek legal advice on the office’s policy moving forward. He said he intended to uphold the ICE detainer at the time because it was the standing policy of the office, established by the previous sheriff, Ken McGovern, to fulfill the written requests and to treat them as lawful warrants from a law enforcement agency.

Armbrister added that the office handles only two or three of these types of detainers per year and he rarely has the occasion to consider the policy.

In the past, Armbrister has spoken out about law enforcement’s autonomy to cooperate with immigration officials on noncriminal matters and testified to the Kansas Legislature that laws requiring local law enforcement to comply with immigration officials can in some situations create distrust within the community.

Since Alonso-Martinez’s release on Monday, a GoFundMe page has been created by Lawrence’s Sanctuary Alliance co-founder Mariel Ferreiro seeking $400 to pay for a hotel room for Alonso-Martinez so she doesn’t have to return home where she has had issues with domestic violence and where she may be under surveillance by federal immigration officials. As of Tuesday afternoon, the fund had reached its goal.


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