News & Media

FOIA Request Unveils Sacramento Sheriff’s Plan to Criminalize Undocumented Communities; Undermine California Values Act


PICO National Network

July 13, 2017

CONTACT: Heather Cabral, 202-550-6880, heather@westendstrategy.com


FOIA Request Unveils Sacramento Sheriff’s Plan to Criminalize Undocumented Communities; Undermine California Values Act

Sacramento – Faith leaders today expressed concern over information uncovered through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request which seemed to suggest Sheriff Scott Jones’ wanted to partner with Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) officials to derail passage of the California Values Act (SB 54). The FOIA also highlights Sheriff Jones’ invitation to ICE Director Thomas A. Holman to come into the Sacramento community.

“At a time when we’re trying to get federal officials out of local matters, it’s disturbing that Sheriff Jones’ is inviting them into our community,” said Eddie Carmona, campaign director for LA RED, an immigrant justice initiative of PICO National Network. “Given unorthodox raids targeting hardworking immigrant communities, the Latino community is highly suspect of any partnership with Trump administration officials.”

In addition to inviting ICE officials into Sacramento, the FOIA documents detail the Sheriff’s desire to derail the California Values Act. In a letter to Director Holman, Sheriff Jones said, “If I was able to pull this off with a high-ranking ICE official, I'm sure it would make at least state-wide news, and likely may tum the public tide on this SB54 bill. Is this something that you personally could fit into your upcoming west-coast if you have any, or would allow another member of your executive team to strategize about and possibly attend?”

“The CA Values Act would provide important protections for the dignity and rights of all communities, including immigrants, by severing the ties between local law enforcement agencies and the nation’s ever-expanding deportation machinery,” said a group of faith leaders in a letter to California Senate President Pro Tem de Leon, Senate Majority Floor Leader Fuller, Assembly Speaker Rendon and other state government officials. “This trail of documents indicating Sheriff’s Jones’ attempt to collude with federal immigration officials to preempt passage of the Values Act is disappointing.”

Undocumented communities and their allies have lived in fear of profiling and harassment since the election of President Donald J. Trump. Following a campaign marked by racist rhetoric and threats to criminalize undocumented communities and people of color, many people live in a state of heightened concern. Given the fact that President Trump’s first order of business once elected was advancing a Muslim ban and threatening to withhold federal funding from local governments that create safe and welcoming spaces for all, religious minorities and communities of color are right to be concerned.  

The FOIA requests demonstrates that we were right to be concerned. It also suggests that Sheriff Jones will go to any length to be deputized as a federal immigration official, with authority to target, detain and deport immigrant families. We must continue to build a drumbeat of support to for the CA Values Act, which pushes back on anti-immigrant policies and practices, while creating a positive example which can be replicated in states across the country.