Immigrant-Rights Protesters Shut Down Meeting on Sheriff’s Controversial Policy

Immigrant-rights activists showed up in force and shut down a Wednesday meeting on the Orange County Sheriff’s Department controversial policy of handing over jail inmates to federal immigration authorities, The Orange County Register reported.

Here is an excerpt from the Register article:

More than 25 immigrant-rights activists stood up and shouted, “Hutchens, listen! Immigration is not your business!” referencing Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens as audience members waited in line to address representatives of the department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Hutchens was not present at the meeting.

Federal immigration and local law enforcement officials have long touted the program, known as “287G,” which targets serious offenders as a way to keep the public safe. However, immigration advocates have said the law breaks up families and targets the most vulnerable population.

Alexis Nava Teodoro, 28, of Santa Ana, with members of RAIZ, an Orange County group working to stop deportations, was forcibly escorted from the meeting at the sheriff’s Regional Training Academy after standing and chanting with other protestors.

“Local law enforcement have no business in enforcing immigration law,” he said. “They’re supposed to protect us and keep safe, but they do the opposite by participating in these programs.”

On the opposite side of the room, supporter Raul Rodriguez Jr., of Apple Valley, chanted “Throw them out!” at the mostly young crowd of opponents.

“I don’t approve of lawlessness,” he said. “They come to this country illegally, they’re lawbreakers.”

Orange County, home to one of California’s largest undocumented populations, is the only county in the state that partners with ICE to initiate deportation proceedings against undocumented inmates.

Debate in the county over immigration policies has been heating up in recent months. In April, the Santa Ana City Council began public discussions regarding the possible shuttering of the city’s jail, which houses immigration detaining under a controversial contract between the city and ICE.

Click here and here for Voice of OC’s previous coverage of the 287G program, and here for an in-depth series on the constitutional rights of undocumented minors.

Please contact David Washburn directly at dwashburn@voiceofoc.org.