On December 4th, 2018, law enforcement officials held the first ever ‘Truth Act’ public forum in the state of California. According to reporting from The San Bernardino Sun, this meeting was held by San Bernardino County officials in response to a request from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Earlier this fall, the ACLU asked for greater transparency from several Southern California counties — including San Bernardino County and Los Angeles County — regarding how these jurisdictions were or were not cooperating with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The Stats: 82,648 People Were Arrested, 353 Were Released in ICE Custody
Under the Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds (TRUTH ACT) — a California state law enacted in 2017— law enforcement officials are required to provide public information about their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agencies. The San Bernardino County meeting is the first official TRUTH Act public form.
In its explanation to the public, San Bernardino County officials told attendees that 82,648 individuals were arrested and detained at the West Valley Detention Center in 2017. In total, this facility received 570 requests for inmate transfer from the federal government. According to officials at the public meeting, 353 immigrants were actually released by the West Valley Detention Center into ICE custody.
Immigrant rights activists expressed some frustration at this meeting — including lodging complaints that the meeting was held on a weekday morning with relatively little advanced warning. Other Southern California counties, such as Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange, are scheduled to have TRUTH Act meetings in the near future.
California Sanctuary State Policies Limit Cooperation With ICE; Requires Public Meetings
Under California’s sanctuary state laws, law enforcement officials must limit their cooperation with federal immigration officers. Specifically, state and local authorities are prohibited from notifying ICE that an inmate is being released from jail — except if that inmate has been convicted of a violent crime.
In addition, California law now requires local law enforcement officers to notify any inmate if ICE has requested a meeting with them. If an inmate is being held in a California facility, they have the right to decline an interview with ICE or request that an attorney is present at the interview.
Finally, California requires law enforcement agencies to be transparent regarding how they are handling immigration and deportation issues. The public has a right to call for an annual forum if even one immigrant has been released by a California law enforcement agency directly into ICE custody within the twelve-month period.
Contact Our Top-Rated Los Angeles Immigration Lawyers Today
At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our law firm fights to protect the rights of immigrants. If you or a loved one has been detained by federal immigration enforcement officers, we are here to help. To get immediate legal assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Los Angeles law office for a strictly confidential consultation.