Sonoma County immigration advocate Jesus Guzman was arrested Wednesday with three other protesters during a sit-in demonstration at the California State Sheriffs' Association offices in Sacramento.
The activists were protesting the association's opposition to Assembly Bill 4, the TRUST Act, which would limit the use of federal immigration holds on undocumented immigrants booked into local jails.
The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, would prohibit local police agencies from holding individuals on federal immigration detainers unless they are charged with or convicted of a serious felony or certain misdemeanors.
Immigration advocates argue that immigration holds often ensnare U.S. citizens, legal immigrants and undocumented immigrants jailed for minor offenses or charges that later are dropped.
Guzman, chairman of the North Bay Organizing Project's immigration task force, entered the private offices of the association with other activists at about 11 a.m. Four activists, including Guzman, sat down with their backs to each other and locked arms.
The sheriff's association said the activists were asked to leave and all but the four complied. The four protesters were arrested at about 1:40 p.m., said Neidi Dominguez, campaign manager for the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, which staged the protest.
On late Wednesday afternoon, the sheriff's association outlined its opposition to the bill. In a statement, the group said the bill “would require offenders that have been subject to prior removal orders, previously deported from the country, or have been charged with serious and violent felonies to be released into the community.”
Dominguez said the association's description of the bill was “untruthful.”
In cases where an undocumented immigrant has been charged with a serious felony, the TRUST Act would only prohibit federal immigration holds if the immigrant were essentially cleared of all the charges.
Guzman and the others were scheduled to be released Wednesday night, Dominguez said.