The TRUTH Act & Stopping ICE Transfers by San Diego Sheriffs

On November 17, 2020 the San Diego County Board of Supervisors will hold a TRUTH Act forum to provide transparency on how the San Diego Sheriffs have coordinated with ICE. The TRUTH Act not only provides Know Your Rights and Fair Notice information to people being targeted or detained by ICE, but it also requires local governments to hold a community forum annually if local law enforcement allows ICE access to any individual.

The reason the San Diego Board of Supervisors will be holding this year’s forum is because the San Diego County Sheriff's Department continues to allow ICE to share information with ICE, allow ICE access to San Diego County jails to interview individuals, and transfers individuals to ICE custody, making all San Diegans unsafe.

The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC) is calling upon the County Board of Supervisors to immediately stop ICE transfers, and stop using county resources to aid in the separation of families and deportation of community members. Here's why:

Law enforcement agencies have an obligation to make sure all people in our communities feel safe, regardless of their immigration status. The San Diego Sheriff's Department continues transferring community members to ICE and posting an “Inmates Pending Release Report” on their website, side-stepping SB 54, which is designed to foster trust in law enforcement and improve public safety for all. This creates a climate of fear in immigrant communities and leaves the most vulnerable in our communities unprotected.

Law enforcement agencies should be accountable to the people they protect and serve — their local community members. Last year, we raised concerns about the Sheriff circumventing SB 54 by posting a list of individuals pending release on their website, and working with federal immigration officials on joint task forces that lack transparency and accountability. The Sheriff’s department continues to ignore the community’s wishes to be accountable to the people they are supposed to protect and serve. This needs to stop.

The San Diego Sheriff Department is making everybody less safe by transferring community members to ICE. Community members are less likely to call our local law enforcement if they feel they or a loved one might end up being transferred to ICE by our county Sheriff. Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Otay Mesa Detention Facility has had some of the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country. Transferring individuals to be detained at a facility where COVID-19 continues to spread is negligent and downright dangerous — and increases the ability of the virus to spread.

As long as the San Diego Sheriff’s Department continues to transfer individuals to ICE and collaborate with DHS agencies, the County of San Diego is complicit in the separation of families and deportation of our community members. The Sheriff’s Department has demonstrated its unwillingness to listen to community members because it continues to transfer individuals to ICE and utilize loopholes in SB 54 to collaborate with DHS agencies. The County Board of Supervisors must act.