Alameda Co. Sheriff's office met with federal immigration protests

- Several hundred people protested outside the Alameda County Sheriff's office in Oakland Wednesday evening, facing a line of deputies and waving signs that called for Sheriff Greg Ahern to stop cooperating with federal immigration officials.

"The Sheriff's department, the Oakland PD need to stop bringing our military into the streets and needs to start caring for the community," said Marjorie Delgadillo of San Francisco.

"Living in a state like California there is a double hypocrisy at play, where we say that we are leading the resistance against the Trump administration, we're first in the nation in terms of our progressive values, yet deportations are still happening in our own backyard," said Kemi Bello, an Oakland resident.

Protestors delivered a public records request prepared by attorneys with the Asian Law Caucus, demanding copies of all communications between the sheriff and federal immigration and law enforcement officials.

The protestors also called on Sheriff Ahern and Governor Jerry Brown to support SB 54, the California Values Act, that would make California a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants.

Saira Hussain is the Asian Law Caucus staff attorney who delivered the records request.

"The Sheriff's department and the State Sheriff's Association across the state has been opposed to the California Values Act which would protect our immigration communities and prevent deportations from happening," said Hussain.

State Senator Scott Wiener, a co-author of SB 54, said the bill passed the State Senate by a two-thirds vote and is now in the Assembly appropriations committee. It seeks to prohibit local law enforcement agencies from conducting any immigration enforcement and would create "safe zones" for immigrants at public facilities such as schools, courthouses, and hospitals.

"Especially with the rise of racism now people need to know they're welcome, they're part of our community, they're safe,' said Jane Martin, of San Francisco.

"We're in a moment where people iln this country really need to make a choice where they stand and I think that our elected officials should stand with the people who voted them into office," said Trilce Santana, a protestor from Oakland.

Opponents of SB 54 say it would provide sanctuary to criminals who should be deported. Opposition from law enforcement associations has led to some modifications such as exempting cases involving immigrants with a violent or serious felony.

At the Oakland protest, many people also said they were appalled by the retweet of a video by white nationalist Richard Spencer which briefly appeared Monday on the Alameda County Sheriff's office Twitter account and was then deleted.

"I was really hurt by the events in Charlottesville and it was an outrage to me," said Sanjay Garla of Oakland.

Alameda County Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said he was responsible for the accidental post, which he said happened while he was researching Spencer to prepare for possible protests in the Bay Area.

In a statement, Sgt. Kelly said, "The accidental retweet was a result of research and was by no means intentional. I take responsibility for the mistake and assure it will not happen again."

The protestors say they will take their fight to Sacramento next Wednesday August 23rd, for a hearing on SB 54.

One of the co-authors, Bay Area State Assemblyman David Chiu says an assembly vote is expected in the coming weeks.


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