Good evening, Chair Vargas and Supervisors.
My name is Simón Guzman, and I am an organizer at the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. The ACLU is a proud member of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC).
We are here tonight to demand that the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department ends all collaboration with DHS agencies.
The Department’s collaboration with DHS agencies puts our immigrant communities at risk. By routinely choosing to work with ICE through notifications, transfers and joint task forces, this collaboration exposes our immigrant families, friends, co-workers and neighbors to immigration detention and deportation that can result in permanent family separations. When our communities experience incarceration, detention and deportation, it has lifelong impacts that limit opportunities for all San Diegans to thrive.
According to data reported by the Sheriff’s Department, in 2022, this collaboration resulted in the transfer of 21 members of our community, and potentially hundreds more indirectly. We are pleased to see that the number of transfers is lower than in previous years, which is due in large part to advocates’ work to ensure strong implementation of SB 54 and to continually monitor the Department’s work with federal immigration authorities. While these numbers are lower, it doesn’t minimize the impact for the 21 San Diegans who were ripped away from their families and communities last year.
Additionally in 2022, data reported by the Sheriff’s Department reveals that the Department violated SB 54 by illegally transferring an individual into ICE custody. This is the second known violation that the Department has committed since the law went into effect in 2018 and is a clear example of why the Sheriff’s Department should not be using vital local resources to collaborate with the federal government on these issues.
Every year for the last six years, the ACLU and our community partners have attended these TRUTH Act Forums, demanding that the Sheriff’s Department stop their collaboration with DHS, stop transferring individuals into ICE custody and stop notifying ICE of release dates. Our demands remain the same. It’s time for this collaboration to end.
We urge the County and the Sheriff’s Department to immediately stop using local resources to aid in DHS’ deadly detention and deportation machine.
Thank you for your time.