DETROIT — A Detroit-area sheriff has ordered his staff to deny requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to turn over immigrant inmates if the agents don’t have an order signed by a federal judge or magistrate.

Detainer requests for inmates will be rejected in Wayne County unless there’s a probable cause judicial statement or a warrant from a judicial officer, according to an April 28 memo from Sheriff Benny Napoleon that was obtained by The Detroit News ( ).

Detainer requests are usually issued by ICE when agents believe an inmate might be violating immigration laws. Agents ask local police to hold accused inmates beyond their normal sentence period, to allow ICE to take the immigrants into federal custody.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the sheriff has the right to make decisions regarding the jail, but added: “I don’t agree with violent criminals who are undocumented being released to the community.”

Detroit activist Elena Herrada said Napoleon’s policy was encouraged by the American Civil Liberties Union and several pro-immigrant groups.

“He was under a lot of pressure from the ACLU and other groups, who met with the sheriff to make that (policy) happen,” Herrada said. “A lot of the (immigrant Wayne County Jail inmates) were picked up on traffic violations.”

Herrada said there have been ICE agents hanging around schools, near construction sites and other places trying to make arrests.

Detroit ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls said he’s delaying any comments about the memo “until we’ve had a chance to fully review” the Wayne County policy.

Information from: The Detroit News,