California Lawmakers Looking to Block Inmate Transfers to ICE Custody


Advocacy groups are re-focusing efforts to gain approval of a bill that would prevent state prisons from transferring inmates to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Los Angeles Democrat Assemblywoman Wendy Carillo introduced the bill last week saying “It is time to end the double punishment of immigrant Californians.” Carillo added “We do not need to devote valuable time and resources on unnecessary ICE transfers.”

Governor Gavin Newsom often opposed the Trump administration’s immigration policies. In 2019, Newsom was concerned it would “negatively impact prison operations and could hinder and delay needed transfers between facilities for myriad situation-specific reasons such as medical care and court obligations.”

Democratic Senator Scott Wiener from San Francisco, who co-authored the bill, said the pandemic created added urgency to lowering immigrant detention numbers.

State prison officials regularly work with immigration authorities transferring released inmates to their custody for eventual deportation.

Advocacy group Asian Prisoner Support Committee says California transferred more than 1,400 inmates to immigration officials last year.

Nationwide, ICE held 14,397 people in custody. That’s been whittled down from more than 56,000 two years ago mostly as a result of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.