Call to Action: STOP Sherrifs from hunting victims of California fires
- Concerned community leaders are urged to communicate with Sheriff Kolender and Undersheriff Bill Gore at (858) 974-2250 or bill.Gore@sdsheriff.org. From community advocates in California:
- As evacuation orders are lifted on San Diego County communities, Sheriff Kolender plans to check i.d. of returning residents at checkpoints and continue his practice of detaining and handing over people suspected of being undocumented to U.S. Border Patrol.
- Sheriff Kolender, who typically says the Sheriff's Department does not have the resources to do the federal government's job of immigration enforcement, has refused to drop his policy of nonetheless helping Border Patrol when identifying potentially undocumented persons despite the tremendous demands on the Sheriff's Department and the highly unusual practice of setting up military-style checkpoints outside people's neighborhoods.
- Sheriff Kolender also dismissed advice that people who are undocumented will be afraid to return to family and residences in the area due to the Sheriff's checkpoints and policy of cooperating with Border Patrol.
- "In a time of emergency, the Sheriff seems inclined to put immigration politics over basic human decency," said Kevin Keenan, executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. "It will be a shameful mark on an otherwise commendable performance during the County's historic wildfire tragedy."
- The checkpoints may last between one and three days. During this time Border Patrol and other agencies will be assisting the Sheriff's Department. North (San Diego) County is home to a large population of farmworkers, landscapers, and domestic workers--many undocumented--who help harvest tomatoes and other crops and tend to the area's many wealthy residences. It is expected that this same population will be relied upon to rebuild, clean up, and hastily harvest surviving crops.
- "The Sheriff needs to prioritize helping people get home after this long ordeal," said Norma Chavez Peterson, executive director of Justice Overcoming Boundaries. "He will exacerbate the area's crisis by keeping residents displaced, rather than administering a safe and swift return."
- Concerned community leaders are urged to communicate with Sheriff Kolender and Undersheriff Bill Gore at (858) 974-2250 or bill.Gore@sdsheriff.org.