SB 54 Makes California a Sanctuary for Dangerous Criminals

Assemblyman Jim Patterson
Assembly Member Jim Patterson represents the 23rd District, which includes portions of Fresno and Tulare counties.

California’s Sanctuary State legislation was noticeably absent from the Senate floor Monday. Last week it passed in the Senate Appropriations Committee after some deceptive changes were made in a cynical move to fool people into thinking it would keep dangerous criminals off the streets.

Sacramento’s dance of deceit is in full view here. They don’t tell you that there’s a long list of felons who will be shielded from deportation under SB 54. Even with the changes, this bill doesn’t protect anyone except illegal criminals charged with doing things like shooting up someone’s home, human trafficking or raping an unconscious person.

In fact, there are a whole host of repeat criminals like these that county sheriffs won’t be able to report to immigration officials. If someone is here illegally and is convicted of manslaughter, or is a repeat drunk driver, SB 54 will stop sheriffs from turning them in to the feds for deportation.

In Fresno, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents proactively check-in at the county jail several times a week looking for dangerous criminals here illegally – compare that with SB 54’s “Catch Them If You Can” plan and you’ll see the glaring difference. A successful effort that deports repeat criminals versus a bait and switch plan hell-bent on providing safe harbor for serious and violent criminals who are in this country illegally.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims has been a leader in California and an example for the nation by giving ICE agents access to the Fresno County Jail. From June 2015 – February 2017, ICE has taken 322 people into custody from the Fresno County Jail. This successful program would cease to exist under SB 54.

These aren’t people who got speeding tickets or had expired tags on their car. They weren’t rounded up during immigration raids either. They are people like Luis Alanzo who was arrested for sexual battery and others who were arrested on charges of assault, burglary, selling narcotics and possessing firearms. Many have been deported before – one was deported 19 times.

If Sacramento politicians take this important tool away from our sheriffs that is actually working to keep us safe, people like Luis Alanzo will be released back onto the streets of Fresno instead of removed from our country altogether. That’s why California Sheriffs strongly oppose SB 54, and we should, too.

These criminals prey on all our families – the rich, poor, and middle-class, undocumented or not.

Passing a reckless bill that would prevent our county sheriffs from keeping all families safe is not compassionate, it’s dangerous.

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