The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a legal complaint against Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones claiming that his office has teamed up with federal immigration agents to violate a California law that is designed to protect illegal immigrants.
The complaint accuses Jones of violating the California Values Act, or Senate Bill 54, which bans state employees from assisting federal immigration enforcement from rounding up illegal aliens. The bill, which was signed into law in October of 2018, also deems schools, hospitals, and courthouses as safe spaces, according to KCRA.
In their complaint, the ACLU alleges that Jones boasted of cooperating with U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.
“Sheriff Scott R. Jones has long championed cooperation with ICE and fiercely opposed SB 54 and similar laws,” the suit alleges. “Unable to stop SB 54’s passage, the sheriff and his office have revised its operation through a policy and practice of notifying ICE of when a person will be released from its custody and transferring that person to ICE, including in situations where that person lacks a qualifying criminal conviction or charge.”
“We have documentation from the sheriff’s department itself, showing exactly how these illegal transfers between the sheriff’s office and ICE have occurred,” said Sean Riordan, a senior staff attorney with ACLU Northern California.
The ACLU went on to claim that Jones has been working with federal officials to arrest illegal aliens after ICE was notified of the date and time of and time of the undocumented Sacramento residents’ releases. The lawsuit additionally accuses Jones and his office of violating the Truth Act, which is the due process of protecting illegal aliens being targeted by ICE.
“The plaintiffs in this lawsuit have stepped forward to try to make sure that Sheriff Jones and his department are complying with state law that’s designed to protect families and communities against unlawful enforcement,” Riordan continued.
Sacramento immigration attorney Brian Lopez further explained the California Values Act.
“If somebody is detained in a state or local jail it would prevent the local officials from holding the person based upon an ICE detainer unless there were very specific circumstances that would allow them to do so, usually the person having being convicted of certain serious offenses in the past that are enumerated in the law,” Lopez said. After looking over the complaint, he added, “What’s being alleged is that there seems to be some awareness on behalf of Sacramento County sheriffs that what they may be doing is very questionable at the very least, if not flat out prohibited.”