More than 50 protestors showed up to rally against Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton’s policy on Immigrations and Customs Enforcement holds at today's Board of County Commissioners meeting.
Staton, however, did not.
The sheriff was scheduled to explain to county commissioners why he’s only rejected 27 of 323 requests from federal officials to keep suspected undocumented immigrants despite changing his policy to cut down on the holds in April. WW first reported last week that Staton had hardly made a dent in ICE holds.
The Multnomah County Jail, prior to changing its policy, held all inmates that ICE asked it to. In response to pressure from commissioners and protestors, Staton has said he will only hold suspected undocumented immigrants who are charged at the time they're booked into jail with a felony or violent misdemeanor crime.
However, many inmates come in with charges that are very quickly dropped or lowered, meaning they are still being held for ICE, despite that change.
Protestors wore signs depicting the word "truth" ripped in half, to symbolize how the lack of change has done nothing to repair immigrants' distrust of local law enforcement.
Staton sent Deputy Sheriff Drew Brosh in his place, who read his responses to commissioner questions about the ICE policy out loud from a typed document. He promised county commissioners and protestors nothing except to “continue productive dialogue.”
County commissioners' response to Brosh was mild.
"We acknowledge this is a difficult issue," Commissioner Deborah Kafoury told him, adding she's received more than 300 emails about ICE holds since last week.
Nicole Brown, a field organizer working to urge Staton to end all ties with ICE, says she's "not surprised" that Staton was a no show. "He’s not come to stakeholder meetings either," Brown says.
The next meeting between the sheriff's office and immigrant groups is set for next month.