Public invited to hear TRUTH in bookings, holdings

TRUTH Act forum where the public can comment on ICE access to county holdings is slated to be held Sept. 21

VISALIA – Once a year the public is invited to bring “truth” to light at the county’s Truth Act Forum. This year, they are invited to the Board of Supervisors’ chambers on Sept. 21.

Formally known as the Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holdings (TRUTH) Act, the forum is held for California legislative bodies to provide information about Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) access to individuals and receive and consider public comment. Statistics of bookings, holdings and ICE access in the county are a review of the previous year.

In the years since the TRUTH Act forums started taking place, the public has managed to grasp the scope of crimes by documented and undocumented residents in Tulare County. Last year it was revealed that Tulare County residents are four times more likely to victimized by a legal resident, than an undocumented one.

Last year the Sheriff’s Department reported ICE requested detainers on 424 of the 21,062 bookings in 2019. Of those 424 inmates, ICE only took custody of 51 people upon release. The rest included 109 inmates who did not meet the legal requirements for the Sheriff to allow ICE access, 231 who were released from county facilities and 33 inmates were still in custody pending trial or serving their sentences at the end of 2019. The 33 inmates were in custody on charges ranging from murder, serious sex offenses and other serious crimes.

Since 2017, the first year the information was compiled, ICE holds have been requested on 928 of the nearly 59,000 inmates booked into Tulare County jails, or about 1.5% of all bookings. Only 490 met the legal requirements for turning information over to ICE and just 163 were released into ICE’s custody over the three-year period.

There are between 37,000 and 48,000 undocumented immigrants in Tulare County, according to the Public Policy Institute of California’s 2013 estimate and the Migration Policy Institute’s analysis of the 2016 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Given the more conservative estimate, between 0.6% and 1.1% of the undocumented population are arrested each year compared with between 4.0% and 4.5% of the population that are legalized citizens.

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