Data released by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office at Kern County’s fourth TRUTH Act Forum, held in late June, showed a decrease in the number of transfers to Immigration Customs Enforcement and release notification requests.
This marks the second year in a row KCSO had a decrease in transfers. In 2020, 25 individuals were transferred to ICE facilities from KCSO, which is 62 percent less than what was reported in 2019. In 2019, 65 inmates were transferred to ICE from KCSO jails, a significant drop from the 374 in 2018.
KCSO officials also made note of a decrease in requests for notification of release. ICE made 71 requests for notification about release, which was 0.3% of the bookings that were made. This was less than in 2019 when it was 0.5% of the bookings that were made.
In 2019, ICE also made 167 requests for notification of release, a drastic drop from the 597 made the year prior.
Of the 71 inmates that ICE had requested notification for in 2020, all 71 individuals were Hispanic. Also, all but one of the individuals were male. The average age was 38 years old and the median time spent in jail was 50 days. In 2020, ICE submitted one request for an interview and the individual that was requested for the interview declined.
The Kern County Sheriff’s office said it does not ask individuals about their immigration status or allow ICE to access their databases, participate in immigration sweeps, or hold inmates past the day they were originally said to be released. On the other hand, the Kern County Sheriff’s office does cooperate with ICE within said laws, make notifications about an individual’s release if there are charges that qualify for this action, notify inmates about ICE’s request for an interview along with their rights, and notify individuals if ICE has a requested a notification of their release.
Additionally, the KCSO ceased the use of ICE holds in 2014 when the TRUST ACT (AB 4- 2014) was passed and took effect. This prohibited KCSO from holding inmates past their release date or delaying their release for ICE.
According to KCSO, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office does not participate in arrests that ICE makes in Kern County and ICE does not have access to KCSO’s databases.