In summary

Protesters repeatedly interrupted a community forum in Sacramento today, shouting at the visiting head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thomas Homan, who was there to speak about how the agency operates. Homan was invited by Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones, who ordered some of the protesters be removed about halfway through the event.

Protesters repeatedly interrupted a community forum in Sacramento today, shouting at the visiting head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thomas Homan, who was there to speak about how the agency operates. Homan was invited by Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones, who ordered some of the protesters be removed about halfway through the event.

Homan focused his points on how ICE has limited resources and is focused on targeted enforcement, meaning they know whom they are looking for. He also tried to reassure attendees’ fears about widespread arrests. “We don’t conduct neighborhood sweeps, we don’t arrest people on school grounds, we don’t arrest people in churches, we don’t arrest people in hospitals,” he said. “We go to a specific location looking for a specific person.”

Critics disputed that, citing a case in which agents removed a woman from a Texas hospital, and another in which a man was detained en route to dropping off his daughter at school in Los Angeles. The ICE director said there is more to the story but that he would not elaborate because of pending litigation.

Homan also told his audience that ICE “will continue to arrest people at courthouses. We go to a courthouse looking for someone with a criminal history. This is a country of immigrants and it’s a country of laws that I’m going to enforce.”

Courthouses have also been the subject of controversy recently, with California’s Supreme Court Chief Justice asking ICE to stop “stalking” courthouses.

Among those at the Sacramento forum was Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who tweeted repeatedly throughout the event. #SacStands4All

Also attending was Sacramento Mayor Darrel Steinberg, who asked Homan, “How can you assure the public your agency won’t be asked to deport dreamers and law-abiding families?”

Homan said he didn’t know if Trump would allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients to stay. But he did say that ICE would apprehend a DACA recipient under certain circumstances.

“We don’t target the young people that have DACA status,” he said. “However, if a DACA recipient commits a crime then yes. because they violated that status.”

Homan told the crowd that the best place to conduct enforcement is in jails—if law enforcement agencies are cooperative.

Sacramento County has a cooperative agreement with ICE and there are agents inside the jail, said Sheriff Jones. “There are violent career criminals some who happen to be undocumented who happen to be in our jails,” he said. “If I don’t have a relationship with ICE, those individuals could go back into the street.”

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Elizabeth Aguilera

Elizabeth Aguilera is an award-winning multimedia journalist who covers health and social services for CalMatters. She joined CalMatters in 2016 from Southern California Public Radio/KPCC 89.3 where she...