Echeveste v. Jones (Unlawful ICE Transfers)
On Nov. 15, 2021, our organization, along with co-counsel Conrad | Metlitzky | Kane LLP, sued Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones and Sacramento County for unlawfully transferring immigrants to ICE custody. Internal documents show that sheriff’s officials illegally transfer immigrants to ICE after they have completed their county jail sentences, rather than releasing them to their families and communities.
They do this by illegally notifying ICE of exactly when people are being released from jail. These are people who have already served their time, and who courts have decided are ready to return to their families and communities. If not for where they were born, they’d just be going home.
This isn’t just cruel—it’s illegal. It violates pro-immigrant state laws meant to protect families and communities from being torn apart by ICE detention and deportation.
We are seeking a court order requiring the sheriff’s office to change its policies and practices to come into compliance with two landmark state laws: the California Values Act (also known as SB 54 or California’s sanctuary law), which sharply limits when local law enforcement can transfer a person to ICE; and the TRUTH Act, which protects the due process rights of immigrants by requiring that local law enforcement officials provide them with written notification in advance of their transfer to ICE.
A number of counties in California have already stopped all ICE transfers from local jails, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, Humboldt, and Contra Costa. Yet, Sacramento sheriff’s officials are advancing an anti-immigrant agenda by continuing to work in the shadows with immigration enforcement.
Turning immigrants over to ICE, instead of allowing them to return to their families after serving their time, is a betrayal of Californian values: fairness, compassion, opportunity, and respect for human rights. It also reinforces systemic racism. It compounds racial disparities in the policing, immigration, and criminal justice systems, in which Black and Latinx communities are disproportionately targeted for arrest, detention, and deportation.