San Mateo County Sheriff Carlos Bolanos said Tuesday his department will end transfer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a decision that comes amid public backlash and less than a week after the annual TRUTH Act Forum where dozens of residents spoke out overwhelmingly against the practice.
Bolanos said the decision, which takes effect immediately, was made in part due to his desire to maintain a trusting relationship with the public.
“It simply is not worth losing the trust of many members of the public by continuing to process these requests from ICE, '' Bolanos said in a statement. “This change is being made after we heard from hundreds of residents who shared their perspective on how we will all be safer when the entire community understands the Sheriff’s Office is here to protect the public, not enforce immigration laws.”
On Wednesday, dozens of residents spoke during the public comment portion of a special Board of Supervisors meeting, the TRUTH Act forum, an annual meeting required for any county that voluntarily releases immigrants to ICE custody.
Prior to the meeting, community members and advocates gathered to protest Bolanos’ continued cooperation with ICE.
The Sheriff’s Office reported that they released 15 immigrants to ICE in 2020, accounting for 62% of all Bay Area transfers and more than any other individual county.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.