COUNTY REVISES IMMIGRATION DETAINER POLICY

COUNTY REVISES IMMIGRATION DETAINER POLICY

In a consent agenda item, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors moved to resolve an impasse in dealing with criminals who are in this country illegally. Dan Stork has the background of the issue, and the local resolution…
In recent years, the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has entered into agreements with local law enforcement agencies to hold criminals who are in the country without proper authorization for possible deportation. Such holding actions are called 287g detainers, and the agreements implementing them have to periodically renewed. In the years that the program has been in effect, there have been protests that the 287g detainers have been used to harass and persecute minor offenders. In response, the state of California passed the Trust Act, which limits 287g detainers to those who have been convicted of serious, specified crimes. Sheriff John McMahon initially opposed implementing the Trust Act in San Bernardino County, because he felt that it placed his department in a position of uncertainty between federal and state law. But after extensive community outreach and meetings with federal officials, Sheriff McMahon chose to amend the language in the 287g memorandum of agreement with ICE to adhere to the requirements of the Trust Act, and the Supervisors ratified that MOA in its December 17 meeting. A press release from the Sheriff’s Department said that 287g detainers have accounted for a very small percentage of total arrests made in the county. In response to a citizen’s query at the Supervisors’ meeting, McMahon estimated that 5 percent of the jail population of 6,000, or about 300 prisoners, are being held on immigration detainers.

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