Tulare Coalition Will Not Attend TRUTH Act Forum Due to Safety Concerns
TULARE — The ICE Out of Tulare Coalition has decided, as a strong collective action, to not physically attend the Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds (“TRUTH”) Act Forum of Tulare County’s scheduled for August 20th, 2019.
We stand as a coalition united in solidarity to not exert efforts to organize behind the unsuitably planned TRUTH Act Forum this year. The Sheriff and Board of Supervisors haven’t taken the proper steps towards an inclusive and accessible forum in which our community can fully participate and engage in a healthy dialogue. We believe an inadequate 30 day public notice was given, triggering the Coalition to request a change of date to the forum. Thus, a later date would’ve allowed for more community members to be made aware of the forum, and make the necessary arrangements to attend.
Earlier this month we submitted a formal request to the Board of Supervisors for Sheriff Mike Boudreaux to be present to hear public opinions and provide information during the Forum. This request is in response to the Sheriff’s Office providing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) access to individuals in Tulare County jails in 2018 and the public’s need for transparency from the Sheriff’s Office.
Requirements Under the TRUTH Act went into effect in California on January, 2017. The TRUTH Act requires that, “The governing board of any county . . . in which a local law enforcement agency has provided ICE access to an individual during the last year shall hold at least one community forum during the following year . . . .” Cal. Gov’t Code § 7283.1(d).
Under the law, “ICE access” is broadly defined and includes when law enforcement responds to an ICE hold, notification, or transfer request; provides ICE dates and times of parole or probation check-ins, provides ICE information not available to the public; or allows ICE to interview an individual. §§ 7283(d)(1)-(5).
When the Sheriff’s Office shares any such information or access with ICE, the Board of Supervisors must convene a TRUTH Act Forum. This Forum must be open to the public, in an accessible location, with at least 30 days’ notice. The purpose of the Forum is to provide information to the public about ICE access to individuals and to receive and consider public comment. § 7283.1(d).
The presentation slides were shared in advance through the Board of Supervisors for the August 20th scheduled forum, stating that the Tulare County Sheriff's Office reported to the Attorney General’s office that 54 transfers took place in 2018. This statistic is part of a better understanding of the practices and policies the Tulare County Sheriff's Office is acting upon. The Truth Act Forum provides critical information and necessary transparency regarding ICE access to prisons and to individuals.
Given the current political climate and the Presidents’ emboldening of white supremacists, which creates high tension and fear among our communities, we believe that this forum will not serve as a safe space for folks to attend. We cannot ignore that the current events of mass shootings, national ICE raids, and human rights abuses in detention centers across the country, have a direct negative impact on our communities in Tulare County. The Sheriff’s public desire to work with ICE is an ongoing safety concern, and continues to build distrust between our community and local law enforcement.
Our local Government Leaders and Sheriff have not spoken out against these detrimental events which continue to demonize our communities and have left us feeling unsafe. Thus, we are not going to physically attend the forum. We stand in solidarity with holding a press conference at a different time and location due to our safety concerns. We need to look out for the mental and physical well being of community members and ourselves. But we will not back down or remain silent. We will watch, listen, and continue the conversations of accountability, for and with our community. We will participate remotely by submitting public comments through online options, and continue to monitor the future actions of the Sheriff and local elected officials.
We look forward to future opportunities to engage in a respectable manner with the Sheriff and discuss concerns from across the county. We will be holding a Press Conference on August 20, 2019 from 6:00-6:20 PM at Visalia’s Memorial Park; Memorial Park is located at North Hall and West Main Street, near Redwood High School.
ICE Out of Tulare Coalition
ACLU of Northern California
ACT for Women and Girls
Coalition Advocating for Pesticide Safety (CAPS)
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
The Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF)
El Quinto Sol de América
Faith in the Valley