Earlier this week, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore revealed federal immigration officers had been given desks in a number of several of the county’s sheriffs’ offices.
Though immigrant rights activists criticized the cooperation, Sheriff Gore said as recently as March 2012, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers were “stationed” at county offices. ICE agents had reportedly been in the offices for more than a year.
The agents, however, were ‘working with various task forces targeting such crime as gang and drug activity. They did not, or were not supposed to be, there for patrol deputies to call when they came across someone they thought might be in the country illegally.’
Gore has now found himself in the middle of controversy over a program he says never existed and will never exist as long as he is in office.
In fact, when Gore found out about the ICE agents in the county offices, he asked them to leave, telling UT San Diego News, ‘…The message went out that they were working immigration enforcement with our patrol deputies. That’s not the message I want to send, and for that reason I said no, they aren’t going to be in our stations.”
Now the Patriot Coalition of San Diego County, a group made up of various Tea Party organizations, is pushing for Gore to allow the agents back in, saying, “The partnership had been very successful in arresting and deporting 306 foreign illegal immigrant criminals from those communities.”
Gore’s attention was brought to the ICE agents in the county offices when he received an e-mail from a coalition of Latino and civil rights groups, El Grupo, in February.