The American Civil Liberties Union has joined forces with immigration advocates and called for public forums in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles Counties.
Formal requests were made to county officials in each jurisdiction to hold the forums in partnership with local sheriffs to provide clarity regarding how local sheriff departments are partnering with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on immigration concerns particularly as it relates to ICE access to detainees in county jails.
In letters to the various Southern California county officials requesting the forums, the ACLU described them as essential to transparency and community trust.
It might be appropriate to point out participation by local officials in these forums may not be optional. In 2016, California passed the Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds (TRUTH) Act (AB 2792).
The law which became effective January 1, 2017, provides important “know your rights” information to members of the immigrant community members who find themselves in the crosshairs of ICE. The information to be provided must include a written consent form that would explain the purpose of an ICE interview, including the fact that it is voluntary and can be declined, in a language the individual can understand.
The law further calls for local law enforcement to provide ICE with notification of an individual’s release date and time, however this same information must also be provided to the individual and their attorney or an allowed designee.
Finally, and this is the part most relevant to the ACLU request, the TRUTH Act requires a local legislative body to hold a community forum each year if local law enforcement allows ICE access to any individual. The measure also assured such information is available through the California Public Records Act.
Item 49 on the Tuesday, October 16 Board Meeting Agenda of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisor’s read, “Consider scheduling a public forum regarding U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) access to local detention centers, as required by The Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds Act (AB 2792).” It further read, “Schedule such public forum for Tuesday, December 4, 2018.” The agenda did not include information regarding time and meeting location—further logistics are yet to be determined.
Riverside County is still in the process of considering the ACLU request.