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San Francisco sheriff 'embarrassed,' apologizes for letting ICE interview inmates

San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy apologized for her department allowing ICE officials to interview two inmates. California sanctuary law prohibits cooperation with federal immigration agents, and restricts or barrs their access to inmates. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy apologized Monday after her department allowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to interview two inmates, SF Gate reports.

Why did she apologize?

California sanctuary law prohibits cooperation with federal immigration agents restricting or barring their access to inmates who ICE may be seeking to deport.

San Francisco Sheriff’s Department policy also forbids most communication between the department and ICE.

Under California’s Truth Act, the department is required to provide a consent form to county inmates before ICE can speak to them. The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department doesn’t have those forms because it has a blanket policy to restrict ICE access.

What happened?

Sheriff’s officials said that two ICE agents visited separate San Francisco jails and were granted access to speak to inmates in interview rooms.

The identities of the inmates and the content of the interviews have not been revealed.

What did the sheriff say?

“My staff made a mistake and I have to hold myself accountable. I apologize on behalf of the department. I feel embarrassed by it. I’ve taken steps to make sure it never happens again,” Hennessy said.

Hennessy also said this was a case of ICE “testing our defenses and they found some weak points.”

“Any breach is a serious matter," Hennessy said in a statement. "We made a mistake and as sheriff, I hold myself accountable. We are investigating how and why this happened.”

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