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San Mateo County Sheriff Ends Cooperation With ICE Inmate Detention Requests

REDWOOD CITY (CBS SF) -- The San Mateo County Sheriff said Tuesday his office would no longer respond to requests from immigration authorities for notification of inmate releases or custody transfers.

Sheriff Carlos Bolanos said the new policy was effective immediately and would help fulfill his office's mission to protect the safety of all county residents; relying on their trust and willingness to report crimes and testify in court.

In a press statement, Bolanos referred to a special meeting last week with the board of supervisors where they heard from residents following instances when local law enforcement gave ICE access to inmate status.

"It has become apparent to me that complying with those requests regarding the pending release of undocumented individuals who have committed serious crimes is undermining the trust we need to protect the community," said Bolanos. "It simply is not worth losing the trust of many members of the public by continuing to process these requests from ICE."

Bolanos added the policy is now consistent with other Bay Area counties.

"This change is being made after we heard from hundreds of residents who shared their perspective on how we will all be safer when the entire community understands the Sheriff's Office is here to protect the public, not enforce immigration laws," Bolanos said.

The sheriff's office said it coordinated 15 transfers to ICE from the county jail last year, noting most people convicted of serious felonies serve their sentences in state prison, not county jail. ICE authorities can always obtain a judicial warrant to hold an inmate, which all Bay Area law enforcement agencies must honor.

"This is a momentous and compassionate decision by our sheriff to end cooperation with ICE," said Board President David J. Canepa in a prepared statement. "He listened to the community and values all our residents regardless of immigration status. This is a policy change that will keep families whole and I applaud Sheriff Bolanos for taking this action."



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