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How to participate in San Diego County's TRUTH Act forum on immigration issues

The public meeting will be virtual this year.

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Board of Supervisors will hold its annual “Truth Act Forum” on Tuesday, Nov. 17. It's to discuss if and when local law enforcement provided assistance to the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE).

The meeting is required under state law. Last year, the TRUTH Act forum was held in-person during the day. This year, it will be virtual, starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

The time change is something Supervisors Greg Cox and Nathan Fletcher pushed for to ensure more people can participate.

"It's really hard to have a forum designed to inform the community if you have it in the middle of the day on a work day," said Fletcher.

Fletcher told News 8 that when it comes to holding law enforcement accountable for their interactions with ICE, Tuesday’s forum isn't just crucial, it's required by law.

"On the accountability side, it's to make sure that law enforcement agencies are actually doing was AB-54 requires them to do," said Fletcher.

SB-54, also known as the California Values Act or Sanctuary State Law, prohibits local law enforcement agencies from using its own resources to investigate or arrest people for federal immigration purposes.

SB-54 builds on the California TRUST Act, which says those same agencies can't let ICE contact people in their custody unless they've been convicted of certain crimes.

"SB-54 was put in place so that the woman who was a victim of domestic violence, who may have an unsure immigration status, is confident she can call 911 and as a victim will not face deportation, [and] so that the immigrant who witnesses a crime is comfortable calling 911 and sharing with law enforcement who it is that did that horrific thing without fearing deportation," said Fletcher.

The TRUTH Act requires governments that gave ICE access to an individual during the year to hold at least one public community forum and provide information about ICE's access to individuals.

In 2018, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department revealed ICE requested meeting with more than 1,800 people in their custody. Then, 649 of those meetings were granted.

Sheriff Bill Gore acknowledged one violation that year, but said it was quickly addressed.

"We took action," said Gore. "We did training."

During Tuesday's meeting, 2019 numbers will be released.

The public is invited to take part virtually where they can watch, share concerns and ask questions.

“Perhaps more people will be likely to tune in and participate given they don't need to be present," said Fletcher.

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