HomeAsian AmericansReluctant Law Enforcement Agencies Thwarting California's Sanctuary Law

Reluctant Law Enforcement Agencies Thwarting California’s Sanctuary Law


Views from the Edge

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will stop leasing jail space for ICE detainees, as part of major changes to address the increasing demands for inmates needing mental health services, OCSD Sheriff Don Barnes said in a news release Wednesday (March 27).

OCSD has leased bed space to ICE since 2010. The current contract is set to expire in July 2020, but allows for early termination. Once terminated, ICE will have 120 days to transfer the detainees to other facilities.

Orange County joins a majority of California counties that are trying to comply with California’s sanctuary law that limits their cooperation with the federal agency, Immigration Customs and Enforcement. 

Orange County, once the bastion of conservatism in California and home to one of the largest concentrations of AAPI communities, made its decision the same day a report was released that said that SB54, the state’s sanctuary law, reduced by 41% ICE arrests at county jails.

“Sanctuary laws can really reduce the number of people turned over to ICE by local law enforcement and also can make a dent in the overall number of people deported from a state,” said Angela Chan, of the San Francisco-based Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus which conducted the study with the University of Oxford Centre for Criminology in England.

“There are a lot of sheriff’s and police departments throughout the state bending over backwards to assist ICE with deportations and trying to undermine SB-54,” Chan said.Implementation of SB54 has been uneven, said the report. Of 169 local law enforcement agencies reviewed, 68 were not complying with California SB-54, the state law that limits cooperation between police agencies and federal immigration agents, according to the report released Wednesday, March 27.

Twenty-three of the law enforcement entities use out-of-date or inadequate policies, says the report. Another 40 agencies adopted policies drafted by a private company, Lexipol, that do not comply with the new law, while five agencies have no immigration enforcement policies at all, according to KQED.

Read the full report, click here..

“What some sheriffs are doing is that they’re saying, ‘Because we’ve posted all of these release dates online that means now they’re publicly available, and so we can go ahead and specifically contact ICE or respond to ICE with a release date for a specific person,'” Chan told the Orange County Register.

Among the reports recommendations is the closing one of SB54’s loophole that allows law enforcement agencies to post online the release date of detainees.

The report also questions the use of Lexipol, a private company out of Texas, because the  company’s policies to not comply with SB54.

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