SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Santa Clara County supervisors held an annual meeting Tuesday night to inform the public about whether local law enforcement agencies had cooperated with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in the last year.
Dozens attended the meeting, which is required by law. Law enforcement, including the sheriff’s office, reported they did not cooperate with ICE agents despite requests, except for one time when ICE legally provided the probation department with a warrant.
“I got the tiny glint of hope that there is a county that cares, there are people who care,” said San Jose resident Jennifer Weiskal.
Despite the strong policies in place in the county, advocates and residents told supervisors that ICE continues to run through the community and instill fear.
“My life was devastated by the effects of ICE,” Weiskal said.
She claims ICE agents showed up, without a court order, at her apartment and detained then deported her roommate in March. She said he had been convicted of a white collar crime but had been complying with his sentence before he was taken away a week before a scheduled court date.
“I’m on the verge of homelessness as I speak now,” she said.
The recurring topic at the meeting among the crowd, however, was the instances in 2018 in which the sheriff’s office admitted to a violation in policy when ICE agents were allowed to interview undocumented inmates.
“We freely admit the mistake and did work with the public defender’s office also, but there’s ongoing training about ICE,” Sheriff Laurie Smith told supervisors.
The sheriff also said that ICE terminated its agreement Tuesday to have access to the county’s criminal database, which gives them information about an individual’s criminal history. But Smith said that ICE can still access the same information through the state’s database. There’s no word on why ICE terminated its agreement with the county.
While it appears, according to the county’s reports, that they learned from their mistakes this year, advocates and residents said more can be done to protect the vulnerable.
“What kind of a system makes a man pay twice for his mistake and devastate others’ lives?” asked Weiskal.