Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones, ICE Acting Director Hold Contentious Forum on Immigration

Protesters gather outside of immigration forum held by Sacramento County Sheriff  Scott Jones |   March 28, 2017 |       Audio rec...

Protesters gather outside of immigration forum held by Sacramento County
Sheriff  Scott Jones |  

March 28, 2017 |      

Audio recording of entire forum posted at bottom of this story | 

A forum held this evening in Sacramento to discuss the relationship between Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and U. S Immigration and Customers Enforcement drew a capacity audience to explore the contentious issue of immigration.

Organized by Sheriff Scott Jones, the forum included ICE acting Director Thomas Homan. Jones, who is in his second term and has been ardent support of immigration law enforcement, arranged the forum at the bequest of community groups seeking to have clear communication about ICE activities in Sacramento.

With the presidency of Donald Trump, immigration and all its permeations has become a widely discussed national issue, especially as it relates to undocumented workers and Dreamers. The contentiousness of these and other immigration issues were immediately displayed as the meeting started with an audience member shouting an expletive at Jones.

Seeking to bring order and civility at the opening of the session held at the Sacramento County Youth Gym on Branch Center Road were Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and California Senate President Pro Tem, Kevin de Leon. In addition to being audience members who questioned Jones and Homan, Steinberg and de Leon and several Sacramento City Council members held a vigil and news conference just prior to the start of the forum.

Acknowledging the controversy of the topic, Jones said he did not expect to change any minds, but instead wanted to discuss facts. 

"It is not the intent of this forum to try to sway anybody to a particular point of view," Jones said. "I realize this is a significant issue."

During his presentation Jones, who was interrupted by several individual jeers, stressed that the Sacramento Sheriff's Department does not conduct immigration raids and does not act as ICE agents. However, he did say that "we do have a cooperative relation with ICE inside our jail facility."

"We do not do immigration checkpoints," he added.

Following Jones, Homan said during his opening remarks that the duty of ICE is to enforce the law and, as it relates to Sacramento, they would prefer to arrest a suspects in jail rather than through sweeps. Currently the Sacramento County Jail rents cells to ICE for detention of their suspects. 

"I don't legislate," he said. "We enforce the laws."

Homan went on to say they do targeted enforcement and that "we don't do sweeps, we don't arrest people on school grounds, we don't arrest people in churches, we don't arrest people at hospitals." He said that ICE focuses it efforts on undocumented immigrants who pose a national security or public safety threat.

Throughout their presentations both men were interrupted and following an admonisment by Jones, two men were removed. Both were detained and issued citations before their release.

During his questioning Steinberg sought Jones' assurance that he would not deputize Sacramento County Sheriff Deputies as ICE agents, which is permitted under Federal law. Jones said he would not.
Bernard Marks. 

Although most of the questions and comments directed at Jones and Homan were from supporters of undocumented workers, a few were in support of the the more recent actions of the Trump administration. One man asked Homan if sanctuary cities, municipalities that refuse to cooperate with ICE,  act as a detriment to ICE's ability to complete their duties.

"Sanctuary cities create a public safety issue," Homan stated.

The most poignant comments directed at Jones and Homan came from 87-year old Sacramento resident Bernard Marks. A Holocaust survivor, Marks described to Jones and Homan being dragged away from his home as a young boy and being imprisoned in Auschwitz and Dachau.

"When I was a little boy in Poland ... I was hauled off by the Nazi's," Marks said. "I am a survivor of Auschwitz and Dachau."     

Commenting to Jones on the inhumanity of his experiences, he added "History is not on your side."

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1 comment

Anonymous said...

The comparison of the 87 year old's experience and the arrest and deportation of illegal aliens in this country have nothing in common. The left and the media would like to think so, though. It's similar to when they were squawking about the wall and comparing it to the Berlin wall....................think about it for half a second and you understand that there's no comparison.

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