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Immigrant Rights Groups Criticize Kern County Sheriff Over TRUST Act

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A trio of farm worker rights organizations protested outside the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Bakersfield Tuesday saying that Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood should follow the law by enforcing the TRUST Act that went into effect January 1.

Marichel Mejia with the United Farm Workers Foundation and the Kern Coalition for Citizenship was at the protest.

MEJIA: “We wanted to inform the immigrant community here in Kern County about their rights and to be on alert for any TRUST Act violations so the Sheriff is held accountable to his word.”

The TRUST act bars local law enforcement from detaining noncriminal undocumented immigrants for federal ICE authorities. Illegal immigrants have to be charged with a crime in order to be put on a 48-hour hold or deportation.

Earlier this year Youngblood said he would not comply with the TRUST Act and last week he agreed to comply with the law,  but says that he plans to make an exception for those that ICE calls a “threat to public safety.”

MEJIA: “If they enact this policy they will be detaining people in violation of the TRUST act, which in essence is not fully enforcing the law.”

Sheriff Youngblood was not available for comment.

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.
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