For Immediate Release
April 22, 2019
Ana Ramirez, email@example.com
Immigration Advocates call on OC Supervisors to hold OCSD accountable & have transparent Truth Act Forum
The OC Board of Supervisors have failed to hold the Orange County Sheriff’s Department accountable, leaving the immigrant community and immigration advocates to fend for themselves.
What: Press Conference and Public Forum on Orange County’s Relationship with ICE
When: Tuesday, April 23 at 8:30AM
Where: 333 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana, CA 92701
SANTA ANA, CA — The OC Board of Supervisors are scheduled to have a public forum on the county’s collusion and cooperation with ICE this Tuesday, April 23 at 9:30AM. The Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds, or TRUTH Act (AB 2792), requires “local governing body of any county, city, or city and county in which a local law enforcement agency has provided ICE access to an individual during the last year shall hold at least one community forum during the following year, that is open to the public, in an accessible location, and with at least 30 days’ notice to provide information to the public about ICE’s access to individuals and to receive and consider public comment.”
The Truth Act Forum should be a platform for the OC Board of Supervisors to demand accountability, transparency and honesty from the OC Sheriff’s Department. This was not the route the OC Board of Supervisors took last year in December 2018 when they hosted a sham Truth Act Forum by merely receiving public comment and subsequently receiving and filing the item, ignoring calls of accountability from immigrant rights advocates. Other counties across the State of CA set a standard for how an engaging Truth Act Forum should be conducted. In Marin County last year the Immigrant Legal Resource Center was allowed to present on the Truth Act (AB 2792) and the California Values Act (SB 54).
The scheduling of the Truth Act Forum by the OC Board of Supervisors comes on the heels of numerous reports including: the 2017 Office of Inspector General report which detailed the unsafe conditions at the Theo Lacy facility and the serious health risks of serving spoiled meat; and the 2017 ACLU Report which shed light on the outrageous abuse and conditions of confinement detainees are subjected to; and most recently, the 2019 report by CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra highlighting the same systemic violations outlined in the 2017 reports. The OC Board of Supervisors need to examine and question Sheriff Don Barnes on the latest AG report.
The OC Board of Supervisors also need to hold Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes accountable for his reckless announcement to end immigration detention in Orange County, a decision that will lead to the closure of the only two publicly operated detention centers in OC, the James A. Musick in Irvine and Theo Lacy in Orange. Although immigrant rights advocates applaud the termination of the ICE contract, the manner in which the OCSD proceeded to end the contract has created a crisis for those detained, their families, the legal service providers in the area and the community that supports those detained.
Additionally, just last week the US Ninth District Court upheld the constitutionality of SB 54, marking again that limiting, if not ending, cooperation with ICE is a reality and within reach. The OC Board of Supervisors should move to end the loopholes of SB 54 and put a limit on honoring zero requests for transfers, holds, and interviews of immigrants who are within OCSD custody.
The OC Board of Supervisors lastly need to hold Sheriff Don Barnes accountable for falsely mischaracterizing and criminalizing the Orange County immigrant community. The Sheriff continues to create distrust between the immigrant community and governmental agencies given that Barnes continues to push forward anti-immigrant rhetoric as expressed on their published press statement in which Sheriff Don Barnes reassures his commitment to continue the collusion with ICE despite the ending of the contract. OCSD has an obligation to respond to the community.