Immigrant Rights Coalition welcomes Alameda County Sheriff Ahern’s decision to end his office’s unconstitutional and unjust compliance with ICE immigration holds

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OAKLAND, CA —  Today, Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern announced that he would completely stop holding people in jail for extra time under unconstitutional and unjust immigration "hold" requests. The policy change comes after years of community advocacy and in the wake of a major federal court decision which has spurred parallel reactions from sheriffs in Monterey, Sonoma, Santa Cruz, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. These counties join Santa Clara and San Francisco in pushing back on ICE holds through local laws, and build upon the protections of California's TRUST Act, a state law which placed limits on sheriffs’ assent to ICE hold requests while warning that each hold risks violating the US Constitution. Sheriff Ahern’s announcement builds on his January memorandum, which limited when Alameda County would assent to ICE hold requests.  

Advocates applauded January’s decision, but continued to warn Sheriff Ahern that all ICE holds opened him up to liability and undermined public safety by entangling local law enforcement with ICE. Although advocates remain concerned that ICE has full access to people detained at Santa Rita jail, today’s news is considered a key victory in the struggle to keep people from being ensnared by ICE’s deportation dragnet.

In response to this development, the Alameda County United in Defense of Immigrant Rights coalition issued the following statement:

"When we fight, we win! Today is a victorious day for immigrant communities and the values of due process and equality under the law in this county. For years, Alameda County families have organized, raised their voices and demanded an end to immigration holds, which have torn apart families, wasted local resources, and threatened the most fundamental principles of our justice system.

Today, Alameda County is helping to set a national model of public safety that honors constitutional values and works to rebuild community confidence in law enforcement. We call for continued dialogue so that we can ultimately end all entanglement between our local law enforcement and ICE's cruel deportation machinery.”

ICE holds have had a disastrous effect on Alameda County, resulting in the detention and deportation of countless family members and heads of household. Over 2,377 Alameda County residents have been deported as a result of the Sheriff’s Office’s entanglement with the agency as of March 31st of 2014 .

ACUDIR is hopeful that the end of Alameda County’s assent to ICE hold requests will be a major step forward in halting the draconian and inhumane administration of disastrous federal deportation policies.

Alameda County United in Defense of Immigrant Rights (ACUDIR)

www.acudirca.org

For more information, contact: 

Cinthya Muñoz, Co-Chair of ACUDIR (Alameda County United In Defense of Immigrant Rights) and CJJC Regional Lead Organizer, Immigrant Rights/ cinthya@cjjc.org