Signaling the County’s resolve to continue to protect immigrants, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, and co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, prohibiting the use of County resources in transferring people to ICE custody without a judicial warrant.
“It is the right time to end this jail-to-deportation pipeline,” said Supervisor Solis. “It is unsettling to hear of unsanitary conditions in detention facilities due to ICE’s inability to keep detainees safe from COVID-19, and that many are dying after exposure to the virus while in ICE custody. We have also heard of horror stories due to problematic ICE detainer requests that call for the imprisonment of immigrants without due process or probable cause. This raises serious constitutional concerns. We have a moral and constitutional obligation to stop transferring people to ICE custody during this pandemic and long after it is over.”
“This motion ensures that ICE will have to present warrants, signed by a judge, if they intend to detain individuals being released from jail, and strengthens the Sheriff’s decision to institute a moratorium on ICE transfers without a judicial warrant,” said Supervisor Kuehl. “It adds an additional level of scrutiny to the process. We want to limit any Sheriff’s cooperation with ICE to what is legally mandated, and this helps make our policy airtight.”
In response to lawsuits and unsafe detention facilities, the Sheriff’s Department in April 2020 issued a temporary ban on ICE transfers and has extended that moratorium on a monthly basis. In August, the Sheriff made this moratorium permanent, but it can only be enforced during his administration. The ban is not binding on future Sheriff administrations.
With today’s motion, however, the Board has not only adopted this moratorium as permanent policy, but will implement it Countywide. In doing so, LA County will protect the health, safety, and constitutional rights of all immigrants and their families.
“Today’s important action by the Board proactively addresses an unfair, unjust, and inhumane immigration system,” said Brian K. Williams, executive director of the Los Angeles County Civilian Oversight Commission. “Moreover, it recognizes the numerous ways that our immigrant families contribute to Los Angeles County’s rich cultural tapestry, which enhance and enrich our lives.”
“This is truly historic: the nation’s largest county, which set a terrible precedent by being among the first jurisdictions to embrace the federal government’s devastating deportation programs, is now leading the way by ending ICE transfers altogether absent a judicial warrant,” said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU SoCal. “It is a testament to the immigrant community’s perseverance and tenacity in fighting, for a decade and a half, to protect its rights.”
Many applauded Supervisor Solis’ leadership.
“With Labor Day approaching, the historic action the Board of Supervisors is taking to end ICE transfers without a judicial warrant is not just advancing the rights of all immigrants: it’s also protecting the rights of immigrant workers,” said UNITE-HERE Local 11 Co-President Ada Briceño.
Hector Barajas, a U.S. Army veteran who was deported, spoke at today’s Board meeting to endorse Supervisor Solis’ motion.
“After service, I struggled adjusting. I eventually found myself in prison,” Barajas told the Supervisors. “After I served about three years in prison, instead of returning home to my family, I was turned over to immigration. At the time, I was still a green card holder and not a U.S. citizen. I had not naturalized because I had no information about the process or help through the military or anywhere else.
“I spent a year in immigration detention without a lawyer, and I was deported,” said Barajas. “Today, you can stop this. You can protect veterans like me.”
Today’s motion marks the 57th immigration motion Supervisor Solis has authored to protect, defend, and fight for the rights of immigrants since the 2016 presidential election. Her efforts include a motion to create sensitive locations throughout the County and the creation of the first-ever County Office of Immigrant Affairs. To view a complete list of these actions, please click here.
In addition, the following community-based organizations support Supervisor Solis’ Board motion:
UNITE-HERE Local 11
ACLU of Southern California
Black Alliance for Just Immigration
Immigrant Defenders Law Center
Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice
California Immigrant Policy Center
National Immigration Law Center
Youth Justice Coalition
UFCW Local 770
Inner City Struggle
CAIR – LA
Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles
National Lawyers Guild – Los Angeles
Freedom for Immigrants
Dignity and Power Now
A New Way of Life Reentry Project
AFSCME Local 148, LA County Public Defenders Union
National Day Laborer Organizing Network
Ground Game LA
White People for Black
Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org