WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -

Palm Beach County is joining the growing list of counties refusing to follow federal demands that it detain people for an extended period who have questionable immigration status.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday that it would immediately stop holding people solely based on a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer, absent any other judicial order. The detainer requires local authorities keep people locked up as long as 48 hours after initial charges against them are resolved.

In recent years, there has been significant confusion over whether such detainers were mandatory.

PBSO spokeswoman Teri Barbera cited new federal directives and court cases that led the agency to believe it was no longer obligated to honor the detainers.

"This decision comes after a long, thoughtful and deliberate process" that included meetings with a community activist group, ICE officials and legal professionals, Barbera said.

She said the decision would not affect the agency's commitment to securing the borders nor fighting human trafficking.