(KRON) – San Mateo County supervisors voted to no longer use resources to communicate with federal immigration authorities.
The supervisors passed this ordinance 4-to-1 deciding not to work with ICE. KRON4 spoke with Supervisor David Canepa, who says the hope is for all residents to feel safe regardless of their immigration status.
The legislation prohibits all county departments and agencies from using resources to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. This means county jails and courthouse-holding cells will also not be shared with ICE.
There are limited exceptions, including responding to a warrant issued by a federal judge or a court decision. Supervisor Canepa says it’s about treating all residents equally regardless of immigration status.
“If someone commits a crime then they have to do the time, but to have them do the time and then call ICE and say, ‘Sorry we are going to deport you.’ To me that’s just so wrong,” he said.
This legislation is years in the making. There are many advocates who spent countless hours working to get this approved, including Siren, an immigration rights organization.
“It’s been a very long fight. For a long time, San Mateo was the county that detained and transferred people to ICE at the highest rate. So for us, this was a priority because there is such a strong working-class community here,” said Jose Sirven, Siren’s director of advocacy and communications.
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In November 2021, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office adopted a policy of not aiding ICE in detaining or transferring residents without a valid judicial warrant.
“What the board of supervisors did was take this one step further to make sure a solidified policy at the county level,” Sirven said.
Supervisors have the support on this ordinance from Sheriff Christina Corpus. The goal of this ordinance is to make everyone feel safer.
“For people who visit their family in San Mateo and not be in fear that if something happens there is a pipeline to deportation,” Sirven said.
Supervisor Ray Mueller was the only one to vote against the ordinance. He says his vote was mainly out of concern about how the legislation is tailored rather than any lack of support for the county’s large immigrant population.
Mueller wasn’t available to chat with KRON4 in time for this report. The ordinance will take effect after a second reading at an upcoming board meeting.