With the President’s recent immigration orders, there has been anxiety in many communities about local law enforcement’s potential role in enforcing immigration laws. As your Sheriff, I felt it was important to share my perspective on the issue. To be very clear, the Sheriff’s Office and Ventura County law enforcement has a long history of NOT being directly involved in the enforcement of immigration laws. This practice is not going to change with the recent election or subsequent executive orders. A safe community needs an effective law enforcement agency. In order to be effective, we need the trust and cooperation between residents and the deputies and officers sworn to protect them. We do not want the fear of immigration status to inhibit the members of our communities from interacting with their police officers.
However, we do believe that those that commit crimes that result in being booked into our county jail and are in our country illegally should be referred to Federal authorities for review of their immigration status. This procedure has been in place for years. Between September 2015 and September 2016, over 27,000 people were booked into our County jail from various law enforcement agencies. Of that, only 238 (less than 1%) were removed by Immigration officials. Their charges ranged from homicide, rape, possession of weapons, to driving while under the influence.
Once again, we want to reassure our communities that we intend to continue our practice of NOT being involved in field level immigration enforcement.
We deeply appreciate and value the trust and confidence Ventura County law enforcement share with our communities, and look forward to your continued support.