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CoCo County Sheriff Protested After Meeting With Sessions

MARTINEZ (KPIX 5) -- Protesters gathered outside the office of the Contra Costa County sheriff Wednesday, showing their disapproval following his recent meeting with new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Dozens of protesters gathered at Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston's office in Martinez.

The demonstrators were emotional, frustrated and demanding more from their elected leaders.

"This sheriff definitely doesn't represent me or my community," said Yaquelin Valencia, an undocumented immigrant who was at the demonstration.

"This sheriff definitely doesn't represent me or my community," said protester Claudia Jimenez.

The sheriff was not on hand, as he is currently continuing a visit with federal officials in Washington, D.C.

On Tuesday, Livingston met with Senator Jeff Sessions, President Trump's controversial nominee for Attorney General who was confirmed late Wednesday.

The sheriff denied a request from KPIX 5 for an interview, but he did release a statement.

"I regularly meet with Republicans and Democrats alike in order to further public safety in Contra Costa County," the statement read. "My meeting with Senator Sessions was neither a political meeting nor an endorsement. I did not offer him one, nor did he ask."

"If he truly does disagree with Jeff Sessions, then he would be advocating to end his contract with ICE," said Richmond City Councilmember Melvin Willis. "But instead he has a continuing contract with ICE today."

The sheriff's close ties to U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement or ICE is another point of contention.

Many undocumented immigrants fear that organization will deport their families.

For some at the protest, it already has.

"My uncle got deported last year. I could see my little cousins, how scared they were and they were like 'Where's my dad? Where's my dad? Where's my dad?'" explained Valencia. "What do you say to a 6 year old and a 9 year old?"

The county's relationship with ICE became closer on Tuesday as the Richmond City Council voted to expand the jail in which ICE operates. The county receives a substantial amount of money from the federal government because of the city's connection with ICE.

KPIX 5's most recent polls show 46 percent of Californians oppose the idea of this being a sanctuary state, while 35 percent of residents support the idea.

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