Undocumented San Mateo County residents will receive expanded protection from federal immigration enforcement after the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted to restrict the use of County resources to assist immigration authorities.
In November 2021, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office adopted a policy of not aiding U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in detaining and transferring residents without a valid judicial warrant.
Today, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors separately voted 4-1 on an ordinance that will “prohibit County departments, agencies, commissions, employees and other representatives from using County resources such as property, personnel, time, labor or money to assist or cooperate with [ICE] or other entities for immigration enforcement purposes,” according to the County. Also restricted under the ordinance is sharing an individual’s personal information or otherwise communicating with immigration authorities and providing access to non-public County facilities like jails and courthouse holding cells, unless County officials are responding to a warrant issued by a federal judge, court decision or statute.
“The restrictions do not apply when assisting in criminal investigations and enforcement that do not relate to immigration enforcement,” County officials said.
The ordinance requires a second reading at an upcoming Board meeting before it takes effect.
“When local law enforcement agencies voluntarily assist ICE, such assistance can contribute to community distrust of local government, fear of accessing county services and reluctance to cooperate with local authorities,” said Supervisor Dave Pine, president of the Board of Supervisors. “Conversely, today’s ordinance prohibiting cooperation with ICE enhances community trust of our local law enforcement and of local government in general.”
Supervisor Ray Mueller, the lone “no” vote against the ordinance, said he supported the ordinance in most circumstances. Mueller ultimately voted no because the ordinance “did not contain an exception that allows the Sheriff’s Department to work with federal authorities to deport undocumented felons who were convicted of serious and violent felonies such as murder, rape or child molestation.”