Keeping ICE Out of Jails Builds Community Trust

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Editor's Note: Santa Clara County has been lauded nationally by immigrant rights advocates for its policy of keeping Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) out of county jails. Two years after the implementation of that policy, local community members, faith leaders, and civil rights groups share on video their observations of how the policy has built needed trust between community members and local authorities.

SAN JOSE -- In October of 2011, the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors voted in an immigrant detainer policy that would effectively stop the county jail system from responding to ICE Detainer requests. The policy that we have in place in Santa Clara has been looked to as an inspiration, has saved over 300 Santa Clara residents from being taken from their families and has built back needed trust between the immigrant community and local law enforcement.

Although the County of Santa Clara has built an inclusive public safety model locally, the county is currently reviewing whether the policy should remain as it is, or be rescinded.

The Santa Clara County Forum For Immigrant Rights and Empowerment Coalition, a cross ethnic collaboration of civil rights organizations, immigrant rights organizations, faith based organizations, and community organizations working to protect immigrant rights in Santa Clara County, have been appealing to elected officials to keep the current immigrant detainer policy that builds trust and cooperation with local law enforcement, promotes equal treatment of all under the law and allows all residents to build a safe Santa Clara County.

Findings from a community survey on both immigrant and non-immigrant perspectives of the detainer policy is due to be released this summer. For more background on Santa Clara County's Civil Immigrant Detainer Policy, click here.

Cesar Flores is a writer and videographer with Silicon Valley De-Bug. He is also a lead organizer with Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project.