Redwood City – The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors today voted to restrict the use of County resources to assist federal immigration authorities, calling all residents “valued and integral members” regardless of their status.
The ordinance, which takes effect after a second reading at an upcoming Board meeting, specifically prohibits County departments, agencies, commissions, employees and other representatives from using County resources such as property, personnel, time, labor or money to assist or cooperate with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or other entities for immigration enforcement purposes. Sharing an individual’s personal information or otherwise communicating with immigration authorities and providing access to non-public County facilities like jails and courthouse holding cells is also restricted. Limited exceptions include responding to a warrant issued by a federal judge, court decision or statute. The restrictions do not apply when assisting in criminal investigations and enforcement that do not relate to immigration enforcement.
The Board said its action demonstrates its commitment to instilling trust in all residents and helping them feel safe working with County government.
“When local law enforcement agencies voluntarily assist ICE, such assistance can contribute to community distrust of local government, fear of accessing county services and reluctance to cooperate with local authorities,” said Supervisor Dave Pine, president of the Board of Supervisors. “Conversely, today’s ordinance prohibiting cooperation with ICE enhances community trust of our local law enforcement and of local government in general.”
The Board voted 4-1, with Supervisor Ray Mueller dissenting, in favor of the ordinance.
Mueller said his vote reflected his concern for public safety and how the ordinance is tailored rather than any lack of support for the county’s large immigrant population.
“I support the ordinance in most circumstances but ultimately voted against it because it did not contain an exception that allows the Sheriff’s Department to work with federal authorities to deport undocumented felons who were convicted of serious and violent felonies such as murder, rape or child molestation,” Mueller said.
The Board's actions today are the latest in several over the past several years taken to support the county’s immigrant community. In September 2018, the Board funded nonprofit legal services to help residents facing deportation defend themselves against removal. In November 2021, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s office adopted a policy of not aiding ICE in detaining and transferring residents without a valid judicial warrant.
The agenda packet for this Board item, and video of Board meeting when available, are posted here.
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