Kern’s second TRUTH Act Forum is taking place next week, where the Kern County Sheriff’s Office will report to the public about ICE’s access to individuals in Kern County.
The TRUTH Act Forum gives the sheriff’s office an opportunity to explain how it is enforcing California laws that protect immigrants. KCSOS will report on how they are sharing information with ICE and how many people they have turned over to them.
Members of the Rapid Response Network of Kern will also present information on what the TRUTH ACT and the California Values Act are and make policies recommendations to ensure the law is implemented in accordance with the law.
“The purpose of the forum is to correct or modify policies,” said Rosa Lopez, the community engagement and policy advocate for Kern County’s ACLU office. “Right now, (KCSO) is open to conversations and considering our recommendations.
The California Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds (TRUTH) Act, passed into law in September of 2016, provides vital “know your rights” information to immigrants who are in ICE custody and brings transparency to local law enforcement participations in federal immigration enforcement.
A community forum is just one requirement of the act.
In 2017, ICE made 622 requests to be notified of the release of detainees from Kern County detention facilities, according to KCSO’s presentation at the first forum in December. Of those requests, ICE arrested 486 individuals upon their release from Sheriff’s Office custody.
Of the 622 requests, 610 were for Hispanic and 587 were male. The average age was 33.
Lopez said she still hears stories of KCSO cooperating with ICE. However, the department said at December’s forum it does not ask individuals for immigration status; does not hold inmates past the date of their release or delay their release; does not enforce federal immigration laws; and does not participate in immigration sweeps.
Lopez hopes the Kern County Board of Supervisors will learn about KCSO’s policies and ask questions to better understand the law and policies.
“We want the community to share those stories and make sure our supervisors are aware,” Lopez said. “They can work with KCSO to amend policies to be in compliant with the law.”
There will be two forums next week. The first one is at 6 p.m. Monday, and the second at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Both forums will be held inside the Board of Supervisors chambers, 1115 Truxtun Ave.