Protests erupted at a town hall meeting in Sacramento, hosted by County Sheriff Scott Jones to discuss immigration enforcement on a federal and local level with Acting Director Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thomas Homan.
Hours before the appearance of ICE acting director, protestors including labor unions, faith leaders, and members of various pro-immigrant groups, began a demonstration against the agency.
In what is only the first time that the acting director has traveled to a city and partnered with local law enforcement forces, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, an avid supporter of President Donald Trump invited Homan to answer questions about the agency’s role in enforcing federal policies regarding illegal aliens.
Speaking to the attendees at the meeting, Homan said that immigration officials do not target illegals at churches, victims at hospitals, witnesses at courthouses or students at schools.
“We prioritize criminals,” Homan told the audience. “We focus our resources first on those who are a national security threat and those who are a public safety threat.”
Cities that are now being called ‘sanctuary cities’ for not complying with federal authorities against illegal alience are under fire from the Trump administration as it threatens to withhold federal funds and grants. Sacramento and San Francisco are also considered as sanctuary cities for providing illegals with a safe haven.
Sheriff Jones, a known critic of illegal immigration, told the crowd his intentions behind hosting the forum were to provide facts and not change someone’s mind. He remarked that he was there in his role as a public safety officer and not as a politician.
“We felt it was important to bring the community to us and answer questions from the community as well,” he stated. “For our part, we don’t ask immigration status — that is not our role.”
In a tweet, Jones said that the purpose of the town hall was to “try and find common ground by reducing conflicting information, eliminating ambiguity and reducing fear by presenting factual information.”
In an apparent disagreement over the new administration’s crackdown against illegal immigrants, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and city councilmembers have vowed to fight the new immigration policies.