SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Just one day before Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones and the acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan host an open forum on immigration in Sacramento, vocal protests are already breaking out.
“Collaboration with ICE exacerbates unlawful detentions, and there’s already a crisis of confidence, of public distrust in local law enforcement,” said Salvador Sarmiento, campaign coordinator for NDLON.
This is the first time the acting director of ICE will be traveling to a city and partnering with the sheriff’s department to speak about immigration enforcement both on a federal and local level.
“This is the worst time for an elected official to organize such a forum to stoke the fears of people who are already afraid,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
Mayor Steinberg took aim at Tuesday’s planned forum, calling it a cynical and mean move, and not what the community needs right now.
“Give people who are undocumented a real path to citizenship, that might be constructive,” said Steinberg.
But Jones says this is a unique opportunity to hear the truth about immigration enforcement, and it allows the community to join in on the conversation and ask questions in a safe space.
He says the forum will hopefully clear up rumors, and actually ease fears on the role local law enforcement is playing.
Jones says the only level of cooperation the sheriff’s department has with ICE is in their jails.
“We allow them access to our information, our inmate population to carry out their mission, that isn’t information from the community, that isn’t information from officers who have suspicions that a person should be looked at. None of that is happening, none of that has ever happened, none of that will happen,” said Jones.
The open forum comes as the Trump administration gets tough on sanctuary cities. On Monday, the Attorney General promised to deny federal funding to cities that protect undocumented immigrants.
Mayor Steinberg responded to that threat.
“We know that those resources are important, but at what price? What price do you put on fear? What price do you put on people’s civil rights?” he said.
Meanwhile, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON delivered an open-records request to the sheriff’s department—asking it to reveal any communication it’s had with ICE and federal immigration officials since President Trump took office.
“Let’s just get facts out, you’ll hear it from me, hear it from him (ICE Director), and we can part with a real understanding of what’s real and what’s not,” said Jones.
The forum will take place at the Sacramento County Youth gym from 5:30 to 7 Tuesday night. Mayor Steinberg, labor unions, faith leaders and pro-immigrant groups will be holding rallies before the planned forum at 4:30.