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January 25, 2017

Position on Cooperation with Ice and Being a ‘Sanctuary County’

In light of national conversations which are occurring, there have been several media inquiries about our assessment of undocumented immigrants, our level of cooperation with ICE, and our status as a so-called ‘sanctuary county’.

In our delivery of law enforcement services within the community, we never inquire or check the immigration status of those that we come into contact with.  Our primary interest is ensuring that crime victims and those needing our services are comfortable and confident when calling the Sheriff’s Department for help.  Likewise we never conduct immigration “sweeps” or “checkpoints.”

In our jails, however, we allow ICE to place detainers on inmates for tracking and statistical purposes, but no inmate is kept any longer than they otherwise would be because of a detainer.  The detainers do not “hold” an inmate in custody in any way.  We DO allow ICE agents inside our facilities to access our data and inmate population so they can carry out their mission, and cooperate with them the same as any other law enforcement partner.  ICE agents are regularly inside our facilities for this purpose.

Thus, Sacramento County—at least insofar as the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department is concerned—is NOT a true sanctuary jurisdiction.  While we do not enforce or concern ourselves with immigration enforcement, we do allow ICE full access within our facility as a partner agency, and enable them to carry out their mission.

This practice helps ensure maximum public safety for Sacramento County, while minimizing the likelihood of creating further crime victims from these offenders.  This has been the historic position of the Sheriff’s Department, and will remain so as long as federal law and policy allows it.


Sheriff Scott Jones


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