BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Kern County Sheriff's Office held a public meeting Monday night to discuss their work with Immigration Customs Enforcement and information about local detentions as part of the Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds Act, also known as the Truth Act.
Dozens of people and organizations like the Dolores Huerta Foundation attended. KCSO Sheriff Donny Youngblood was in attendance at Monday's meeting, similar to the forum held in December.
When asked about Youngblood's absence, Supervisor David Couch said, "it was for a really good reason."
Multiple people voiced their opinions on Youngblood's absence. Most were upset. .
“Mr. Youngblood not being here is extremely disrespectful to the community, to you guys, and our families," said one woman.
Nonetheless, people still were demanding transparency from KCSO on their involvement with ICE.
In 2018, California passed Senate Bill 54 which says local law enforcement agencies are not supposed to utilize ICE resource or in be coordination with them.
From October 2017 to May 2018, 1,235 were arrested by ICE in Kern County. That number ranks 17 in the country.
"The Sheriff’s Department stated that they do not work with ICE and do not share information with them," said Camila Chavez, the Executive Director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. "However, personal testimonies and data that’s been collected by ACLU and the UFW Foundation show that there has been some type of coordination."
According to KCSO, ICE gets those names from a federal database through fingerprints. But, many people still had their concerns.
The Truth Act Forum is one of many gatherings being held in towns throughout the state in an effort to make individuals aware of the policies and practices regarding ICE in their own communities.
According to Chavez, Monday's meeting was an improvement from the last meeting's basic presentation.
“We are hopeful that this is the beginning of a dialogue, which is why we organized this event tonight," said Chavez. "So, that we can open the dialogue between community members, the Sheriff’s Department and the Board of Supervisors so that we can take serious actions and make sure that our local Sheriff’s Office is abiding by California State Law."
There will be another forum Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. According to KCSO and Couch, KCSO Sheriff Donny Youngblood is expected to attend.