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Thread: ‘I don’t work for ICE.’ Merced County sheriff faces critics over contact with immigra

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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    ‘I don’t work for ICE.’ Merced County sheriff faces critics over contact with immigra

    ‘I don’t work for ICE.’ Merced County sheriff faces critics over contact with immigration agents

    BY ABBIE LAUTEN-SCRIVNER
    NOVEMBER 21, 2019 01:03 PM



    ABBIE LAUTEN-SCRIVNER ALAUTENS@MERCEDSUN-STAR.COM

    Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke this week pushed back against what he says are false claims by immigration activists that his office works too closely with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

    “I don’t work for ICE, I work for the citizens of this county,” Warnke said Tuesday, while speaking during a TRUTH ACT public forum in front of the Board of Supervisors.

    Under the TRUTH ACT, local jurisdictions and law enforcement are mandated to hold a public forum, to let the community know about federal immigration agents’ local activities.

    Warnke’s message was not received well by everyone in the audience. Members of the anti-ICE group called ICE Out of Merced attended the gathering, which was similar to last year’s forum.

    The disagreement between Warnke and local activists is reflective of a larger debate happening nationally over the issue of undocumented immigration to the U.S., particularly at the southern border with Mexico.

    It’s also indicative of the ongoing debate over California’s sanctuary law, which limits local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration agents.

    Warnke reported that out of 214 people with immigration detainer requests in Merced County during 2018, 40 were arrested by ICE. That compared with 194 detainer requests and 66 arrests in 2017.

    Detainer requests are issued by ICE to local law enforcement when a person ICE suspects to be in the country unlawfully is placed in custody for criminal charges. Law enforcement is asked to notify ICE before that person is released.

    Inmates are never held without a federal warrant, ICE interviews never take place within the county jail and ICE is never notified before the public that an inmate is being released, Warnke reported.

    “We have never, ever gone after anybody based on immigration status,” Warnke said.

    Inmate release dates are made public on the sheriff’s website, he said. “The Merced County Sheriff’s Office does not participate in any joint agency operations with immigration authorities,” Warnke said.

    Warnke concluded the report with the case study of an undocumented immigrant who allegedly shot a Merced County sheriff’s detective in September. Guadalupe Lopez-Herrera of Dos Palos, 51, is accused of opening fire on law enforcement, injuring Merced County Sheriff’s Sgt. Clint Landrum.

    Prior to the alleged shooting, Lopez-Herrera had been in the Merced County Sheriff’s custody for a domestic violence misdemeanor in January, but was released.

    “He went back to his family, where he created hell for them,” Warnke said.

    California’s laws limited cooperation with ICE, thus preventing Lopez-Herrera from being turned over to ICE agents while he was in the sheriff’s custody, Warnke said.

    ACTIVISTS HAVE QUESTIONS FOR SHERIFF

    Several immigration activists from ICE Out of Merced said during the public comment section of the hearing that presenting the Lopez-Herrera case enforced negative stereotypes about undocumented immigrants.

    They accused Warke of having a negative attitude toward undocumented immigrants, while also saying his department has not be transparent with the public.

    The anti-ICE coalition, which is made up of non-profits, faith-based groups, and community members, have a list of 29 questions for the sheriff. Blanca Ojeda, a member of the coalition, said about a third of those questions were answered Tuesday.

    “Last year’s presentation raised a lot of questions for us, and those questions still haven’t been answered,” said Tanya Golash-Boza, a UC Merced professor of sociology and member of the coalition.

    Golash-Boza said the coalition unsuccessfully sought to open a dialogue with Warnke for over a year to answer the questions. They want explicit confirmation from Warnke that immigrants in Merced are protected by the Sheriff’s Office, Golash-Boza said.

    “Many immigrants are scared of the sheriff because they believe minor incidents could lead to deportation, but this is no longer California law,” Golash-Boza said. “The sheriff has not indicated publicly that they are following these laws.”

    Group planning its own forum

    Ojeda said the recent highly-controlled public forums inhibit meaningful community discussion. The coalition plans to hold its own community forum as a place for conversation.

    “We suspected the format for this forum would be this way,” Ojeda said. “What we want is a dialogue.”

    ICE Out of Merced urged the sheriff to attend their forum, which they expect will take place in January or February

    “I think the more he tries to evade us, the more distrust there is being built,” Ojeda said.

    Golash-Boza said although she believes state law is likely followed in Merced County, the affected communities want transparency and confirmation from the sheriff.

    “I don’t think we’re necessarily at odds with the sheriff,” Golash-Boza said. “I would like the sheriff to let the immigrants of Merced know his job is also to protect them.”

    Warnke said at the moment he’s not planning on meeting with the coalition. “Their agenda is for me to not cooperate with ICE,” he said.

    Still, Warnke acknowledged that if ICE Out of Merced sent him a formal agenda, he would consider a future meeting, though he would not go into it blindsided.

    Warnke said he believes ICE Out of Merced’s complaints are misdirected, and the “widely public” information shows that.

    “I protect everybody within the county, regardless of a label,” Warnke said. “When people have committed crimes within this county, I deal with that aspect.”

    https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/l...237506359.html
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    The Sherrif's JOB is not to protect illegal aliens or American criminals in this country.

    Fresno and Merced were cleaned up in the 90's and it was a decent place.

    Now it is FULL of illegals and refugees have been placed there, full of crime and BACK to a dump!

    ALL our law enforcement must work hand in hand to get ALL criminals off our streets no matter what their status is. No more FREE pass for foreign citizens who ARE illegal aliens and have NO right to be in this country or in our communities in this entire Nation!

    THEY ARE NOT "IMMIGRANTS"...THEY ARE ILLEGAL ALIENS AND I DO NOT GIVE A RAT'S BEHIND HOW "SCARED" THEY ARE.

    GO HOME AND LIVE IN PEACE IF YOU ARE SCARED!!! AND YOU SHOULD BE!
    Againstallamnesty likes this.
    TO BECOME AN AMERICAN YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR VALUES ...NOT YOUR LOCATION

    STAY HOME AND BUILD AMERICA ON YOUR SOIL

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