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San Diego County Sheriff's Department releases ICE transfer numbers during Truth Act Forum

Posted at 6:07 AM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 09:07:00-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The San Diego County Sheriff's Department has released the number of inmates it transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in 2019.

In a meeting that lasted nearly four hours on Tuesday, the department announced it transferred 271 people to ICE for offenses like assault, battery, and sexual abuse exploitation. The information was released during the virtual Truth Act Forum, a forum required by law, for any local law enforcement agency that chooses to transfer people to ICE.

After the department's presentation, there were hours of public comment criticizing the practice. There was also a presentation from the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium.

"We want to end all transfers, regardless of whether they were allowed under the law or not," said Lilian Serrano, the chair of the consortium.

Critics also argue that Sheriff Bill Gore has found a loophole by posting lists of "Inmates Pending Release"; critics are calling for that practice to stop.

"What we’re seeing is ICE picking people up in the parking lots -- this is a practice we’re seeing throughout our county," said Serrano.

After listening to hours of public comment, Gore addressed the community's concerns, saying he wants to form a working group to look at some of the issues brought up during public comment.

“I think we can come to an accommodation when it comes to the inmate pending release report. I think we can make changes there, significant changes there,” said Gore.

The sheriff said he's following the Values Act, only transferring those with a qualifying conviction or judicial warrant, with ICE only allowed contact with inmates if they agree to be interviewed.

Gore said most decline.

ABC 10News did reach out to ICE for comment and a spokesperson told us they were looking into it, but so far we have not heard back.