Effective immediately, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office will no longer voluntarily transfer convicted immigrants to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Sheriff Carlos Bolanos announced Tuesday.
Sheriff Bolanos said he made the decision to end the practice after hearing from residents at the annual TRUTH Act Forum on Nov. 3, a meeting that’s required when local law enforcement has given ICE access. Last year, the Sheriff’s Office coordinated 15 transfers to ICE from the county jail. The practice has long been criticized by immigrant advocates as an unfair double punishment and it has already been banned in other counties including San Francisco and Santa Clara.
“It has become apparent to me that complying with those requests regarding the pending release of undocumented individuals who have committed serious crimes is undermining the trust we need to protect the community,” Bolanos said in a statement. “It simply is not worth losing the trust of many members of the public by continuing to process these requests from ICE.”
ICE could force transfers via judicial warrants that all law enforcement agencies must honor.
Bolanos said he would continue to evaluate the impacts of the change in policy and consider adjustments if needed.
Photo courtesy of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office