This week, county officials across Southern California began hosting a series of public forums to inform the public on how jail officials in local communities are working with federal immigration agents.
The Truth Act (AB 2792), signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2016, was passed in part to help mitigate the plight of immigrants in California jails who often found themselves suddenly confronted with the possibility of imminent deportation. They faced separation from family without warning and as importantly, without any information about their rights.
Reportedly, many former abuses stemmed from Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) efforts to involve local law enforcement in the deportation process, which raised both civil rights and public-safety concerns.
In California, sanctuary state laws regulate how law enforcement and federal immigration agencies are to cooperate on immigration related issues. In addition, public forums like the ones scheduled this month are not only designed to shine light on these interactions, they are also required under the state’s Truth Act which became effective January 1, 2017.
Although California is a sanctuary state, sanctuary laws remain controversial within the state—while many communities support sanctuary measures, others feel strongly that they violate federal laws, and some communities have even passed resolutions or taken other steps against such statutes.
The Truth Act was partly designed to help facilitate transparency regarding collaboration between local law enforcement and ICE.
During each of the scheduled forums, it was anticipated the local sheriff’s department would make a presentation about their interactions with ICE to the Board of Supervisors (and those in attendance), but it appears concerned immigration organizations and groups like the ACLU, who stand at the forefront of immigrant rights, may be denied the same opportunity.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors will host its public forum on Tuesday December 11 at 4080 Lemon St., first floor, Riverside. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.