Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at the home of a suspected undocumented immigrant. Courtesy ICE

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday heard from immigrant rights activists concerned over how the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department enforces two state laws involving federal agents and their access to undocumented jail inmates.

During the community forum on the state’s Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds Act, dozens of speakers voiced their concerns that the sheriff’s office was still allowing Immigration and Customs Enforcement the ability to apprehend inmates once they’re released from county detention centers.

Undersheriff Michael Barnett told the board that two immigrant transfers were improperly handled in January 2018.

While the sheriff’s office couldn’t discipline the deputy involved, because he was leaving the department, Barnett said sheriff’s officials have met with the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium.

The sheriff’s office will also no longer honor ICE notification requests until an individual has been convicted, Barnett said, adding that ICE agents are now required to be checked in via the primary entrance point at each facility.

Immigrant rights proponents faulted the county for not fully complying with the TRUTH Act or Senate Bill 54, which limits cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.

Others criticized sheriff’s officials for holding the meeting during a time when they said most couldn’t attend. They also took issue with the board’s previous support of the Trump administration’s lawsuits against California policies on immigrant rights.

In April 2018, the board voted 3-1 to file an amicus brief to join the U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit against three state policies pertaining to immigrant detainees.

Since then, the board’s makeup has changed with Jim Desmond and Nathan Fletcher replacing Bill Horn and Ron Roberts, respectively.

— City News Service

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