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Sacramento Mayor Pushes ICE Official On Deportation Policies


Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas Homan took questions about the working relationship between the two agencies at a public forum Tuesday night. Homan and Jones answered questions for an hour.

Sacramento Mayor Darell Steinberg and several Sacramento city officials were front and center when it came to criticizing the Trump administration's immigration policies and ICE's deportation practices.

"Will you assure us that your sheriffs will not become deputized ICE agents here in Sacramento?" said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who was among those asking questions.

"I can assure you that we do not do that," said Jones. "We do not cross-deputize folks as ICE agents and as long as I am sheriff, I will not so cross-designate deputies to enforce immigration law."

Jones went on to explain that deputies do not ask for immigration status in the field. But, if a person is arrested, ICE may be notified. ICE also leases space in the jail.

Homan responded to repeated claims about ICE operations in neighborhoods. 

"We don't conduct neighborhood sweeps. We don't arrest people on school grounds. We don't arrest people in churches. We don't arrest people in hospitals. We don't walk through neighborhoods looking for people that are different than we are," says Homan. "What I do is a target-enforcement operation. We go to a specific location looking for a specific individual. That's what we do."

Three hundred people filled the Sacramento County Youth Gym for the forum. 

Most of the attendees spoke against arresting or deporting undocumented immigrants. Some chanted and yelled obscenities at Jones until he had them removed.

Bernard Marks, who is Jewish and a survivor of the Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps, addressed Jones and Homan.

"I was a boy in Poland. For no other reason, because I was Jewish, I was picked up by the police," said Marks. "My question to you sir, is what is the difference in your officers and ICE grabbing a Mexican father with no more than a traffic ticket and throwing him in jail for deportation."

But some people thought ICE should deport immigrants who have committed crimes.

A man who would identify himself only as Dino, said deporting criminals should not be compared to atrocities committed by the Gestapo.
"My father came over here on a boat, legally I might add, same with [Marks], but there is a distinction and he wants to compare what happened to his family in Germany to what's happening here. It's totally a different story," he said. "There's no comparison."

There were occasional outbursts from a few in the crowd, and half a dozen people were removed. Jones and Homan took questions for an hour.

Jones said he held the forum at the urging of the group Sacramento Area Congregations Together.
This was the first time Homan had spoken at such an event since becoming interim director. 

Jones said he held the forum at the urging of the group Sacramento Area Congregations Together.

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