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Sanctuary: A Controversial Law

Amid California sanctuary law controversy, many are up in arms.

Tribune News Service

Tribune News Service

Adriana Sanchez, Contributor

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In opposition to the California sanctuary laws that limit cooperation between law enforcement officers and federal immigration officials, the Orange County (OC) Sheriff’s Department has made all inmate release dates available online to the public. As of March 26, internet browsers can now log on to a database called “Who’s in Jail” to find the release dates of all inmates in custody. The laws will serve to assist US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in convicting undocumented people. 

This action is the latest in protest of the California Values Act, or CA State Bill 54, which makes it more difficult for immigration officials to obtain information from local or state officials. Specifically, Governor Jerry Brown passed SB 54 last October. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the bill ensures that no state or local workers have to assist in mass deportations; making it a ‘sanctuary state.’ 

The Washington Post reported that a provision within the bill allowed the Sheriff Department’s to assist ICE by making the information available to the public. 

According to the Los Angeles Times on March 26, Undersheriff Don Barnes said, “We have an obligation to safeguard our community, and we will use every tool available to help hold criminals accountable. Our inability to relinquish these individuals to the custody of (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) causes them to be returned to the communities which they prey upon.”

The department feels that the community would be safer if immigration enforcement had access to the offenders who are being released back into the public. Other opponents of ICE view it to be a case of entrapment. 

One student said, “I don’t know much about the police system, but it seems as though this is a trap. The police are basically telling ICE exactly when and where these people are so they can find more people to detain.” 

Kelly Enos, a retired Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff and member of the Criminal Justice Department said, “The only time I know that departments will release release dates are in sexual assault and domestic violence cases where a victim is in danger and the abuser is convicted. There’s a law in California that states that when that person is getting ready to be released, law enforcement notifies the victim and lets them know this person is going to be released from prison.” 

Typically, if someone wanted to find a release date, they would need to know the location and personal information of the inmate involved. Orange County’s publishment is also notable in the immigration controversy. 

Recently in Orange County, cities have become active in protesting against the State’s ‘sanctuary’ status. Earlier this March, the city of Los Alamitos voted to exempt themselves from the state’s new law. On April 2, Huntington Beach also announced that the city is planning to file a lawsuit against the state of California over the “sanctuary” status. Yorba Linda, Buena Park and Mission Viejo are also voicing their opposition. 

The Los Angeles Times reported that the county initially proposed Proposition 187, which would deny public services–including education and healthcare–to undocumented citizens, but was revoked in court.

As of April 4, the Orange County Sheriff Department is now being faced with a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The civil rights group claims that the department has run an illegal jail informant group for over 30 years that has led to countless unjust convictions. The Huffington Post writes that the case follows three Orange County cases along with People for the Ethical Operation of Prosecutors and Law Enforcement. As the lawsuit goes underway, accusations continue to surface.

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Sanctuary: A Controversial Law