Florida counties with Basic Ordering Agreements
On January 17, 2018, 17 Florida counties announced that they would enter into a new collaboration agreement with ICE called Basic Ordering Agreements. These counties were: Pinellas, Lee, Manatee, Bay, Walton, Hernando, Brevard, Polk, Indian River, Charlotte, Monroe, Sarasota, Columbia, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Hillsborough and Pasco. In May 2018, Lake County also signed a BOA with ICE.
BOAs are ICE’s latest scheme to use local law enforcement to find and deport immigrants. They are agreements between ICE and local sheriffs in which ICE promises to pay sheriffs $50 for every immigrant they hold and turn over to ICE, for up to 48 hours of detention.
Multiple federal courts have ruled that it is unconstitutional for local law enforcement agencies to keep people detained in jail once their criminal cases have ended, in order to give ICE a chance to pick them up and deport them. As a result of those court rulings, many sheriffs in Florida became concerned that they, too, would get sued because of the unlawful holds, known as ICE detainers. In order to protect themselves, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the Florida Sheriffs Association, and ICE came up with a constitutional workaround: Basic Ordering Agreements.
On December 3, the SPLC sued Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay for illegally holding a U.S. citizen in the county jail on an ICE hold. The suit is the first to challenge a Florida sheriff for unlawfully detaining people at ICE’s request as part of a BOA. It is part of the SPLC’s strategy to stop collaboration between ICE and local law enforcement under BOAs before ICE attempts to expand the BOA program beyond Florida. The SPLC is co-counseling this case with the ACLU, the ACLU of Florida, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP
The resources below will help advocates who want to fight BOAs in their counties understand how BOAs came to be, what Florida sheriffs are hoping to accomplish, and why BOAs ultimately hurt communities.