Historic Immigration Reform in LA Sheriff’s Department

TRUTH Act Forum March 9, 2021

Sheriff’s Message

“The mission of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is to protect ALL County residents even if they are undocumented immigrants. Witnesses and victims should not be afraid to report crime because they fear deportation. We have a responsibility to respect due process rights for all and to protect our neighbors. Undocumented immigrants are entitled to feel safe in the community — -in schools, hospitals, courthouses, libraries, and even jails.”

Highlights of ICE Access

On April 24, 2020, the Sheriff ordered a moratorium on all cooperation, including transfers, with ICE for civil immigration enforcement.

On August 3, 2020, the Sheriff made the moratorium permanent.

No notification is made to ICE when an inmate is released, regardless of their criminal history.

Current Detainer Practices

The Department continues to receive immigration detainers from ICE. All detainers received are forwarded to the Public Defender’s Office and Alternate Public Defender’s Office. Inmates are given a copy of any detainer received from ICE. Detainers are never acted upon –no notification is made to ICE and no access to inmates is provided to ICE.

Gonzalez Decision

On November 7, 2019, the Department stopped notifying ICE in response to immigration detainers based solely on biometric confirmation in anticipation of a ruling on the Gonzalez v ICE case. On February 5, 2020, the judgement was entered barring ICE from issuing immigration detainers based solely on biometrics. On September 14, 2020, the Gonzalez decision was overturned, allowing ICE to issue detainers based on biometrics.

As a Result

2020 Compared to 2019

  • Transfers to ICE were down 91%
  • Transfers for misdemeanors were down 96%
  • Detainers received were down 76%

Link to Presentation

Alex Villanueva is the 33rd Sheriff of Los Angeles County, California.

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