In less than fifty days, on January 1st, California’s new sanctuary state law goes into effect. As we discussed last month, the police unions were finally convinced to endorse the new law after some changes were made, but most of the sheriffs across the state were protesting it. Not much has changed since then, with the more rural county sheriffs in particular remaining firm in their belief that the new laws are going to make California residents less safe. Also, those hoping to hinder the activities of ICE in their communities are likely to be quite disappointed in the results.
This has led at least some sheriffs to begin working on new, creative policies which will allow them to continue supporting immigration enforcement officials while not running afoul of the law. Needless to say, this has the state’s Democratic legislators in a bit of a foul mood. (LA Times)
[Fresno County Sheriff Margaret] Mims has gone from being a registered Democrat to a Republican and has publicly quarreled with Brown over what she calls the Democratic Party’s hostility toward law enforcement issues, including gun rights and recent ballot measures to revamp the criminal justice system.
She also has been locked in battles with immigration advocates over the jail access she allows ICE, feuds that precede the election of Trump…
Mims said her department is once more looking for ways to increase its collaboration with ICE in the wake of new communication restrictions.
“If ICE can’t do their job in a local, safe, controlled environment, they are going to put together teams, and they are going to go out into our communities,” she said. “I don’t think people are going to like the unintended consequences.”
Sheriff Mims has already enacted a variety of policies designed to make it easier for ICE to enforce the law. She set up office space for ICE agents inside her jail so they could have direct access to prisoners for questioning and possible detention where appropriate. She also restructured the schedule, pushing release times for prisoners to later in the day so immigration enforcement agents would have more time to arrive and take care of business. Most of these programs won’t be affected by the new law, but she’s in the process of negotiating other deals to get around the intentional impediments put in place by the state government.
The real irony here is that Mims is actually helping to avoid what most of the Democrats in Sacramento claim is part of the problem. Do you recall the massive ICE deployment dubbed Operation Safe City from a couple of months ago? Agents arrested literally hundreds of criminal illegal aliens in sanctuary cities across the country, going to people’s homes, places of employment, courthouses and other public areas. And the only reason they did it was because they had insufficient access to the criminals at the jails where they could be taken into custody in a safe environment.
California is powerless to stop ICE from doing its job. All they can do is make it more inconvenient and time consuming. As things stand now, the counties where there is little or no cooperation from local authorities are going to be the subjects of continued raids. Meanwhile, residents of Fresno County will likely see far less activity of that type because there won’t be any need for it.
Great job, California. You’ve really solved all the world’s problems now, haven’t you?