The Rapid Response Network of Kern hosted a Kern County TRUTH Act Community Briefing Tuesday to educate community members on the upcoming TRUTH Act Forum.
The Rapid Response Network of Kern, a collaborative of local organizations, community leaders and immigrant rights advocates working to develop a system to better support our immigrant communities, has been involved with Kern’s TRUTH Act Forums for two years.
Kern County will hold its fourth TRUTH Act Forum on June 28.
The TRUTH Act, also known as the Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds Act, became effective on Jan. 1, 2017 in California. Essentially, the TRUTH Act provides immigrants who are in ICE custody with important information regarding their rights.
Additionally, local law enforcement is required to provide a written consent form in the individual’s language that is in ICE custody. The form must include an explanation for the purpose of the interview and inform the individual that the interview is voluntary along with informing them that they could choose to have their attorney present, do the interview alone, or decline the interview.
Also, if ICE decides to make a hold or a transfer request, local law enforcement must provide the copy of the request to said individual and notify them if they intend to respond to the request. In the case that the local law enforcement agrees to respond to the request made by ICE, they need to provide the same notification, written, to the individual along with providing the notification to their attorney.
Another important aspect of the TRUTh Act is law enforcement must hold forums to offer transparency on ICE access to immigrants. This is what will take place on June 28.
In 2020, Kern County Sheriff’s Office officials said 65 inmates were transferred to ICE from KCSO jails in 2019, a significant drop from the 374 in 2018. ICE also made 167 requests for notification of release, a drastic drop from the 597 made the year prior. Of the 167 individuals who ICE requested notifications, 155 were Hispanic and 160 were male. The average age of the person was 35 years.
During the community meeting, the Rapid Response Network of Kern provided tips to attendees when dealing with ICE officials. For example, if ICE pulls you over in your car, they can only ask questions if they have probable cause. Also, Rapid Response Network of Kern advised against running away from ICE officials, as it will give them a cause to arrest you. Individuals also have immigrant rights in immigration proceedings, such as the right to talk to a lawyer, remain silent, request for translation, and have a hearing with a judge. However, the government is not required to provide you with a lawyer, so you may call the Valley Watch Network number, which is (559) 206-0151.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Rapid Response Network of Kern, you can attend a KYR training, tell your family and nehighboots to document ICE activities within your community, and train to become an active volunteer for your community members. You can learn more about Kern RRN at https://www.rapidresponsekern.com/who-we-are/.