The California Assembly has returned from summer recess, and high on its to do list is to vote on Senate Bill 54 that would expand sanctuary city policies to block federal immigration enforcement. SB 54 would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect or arrest illegal immigrants.
Additionally, SB 54 would also create alien safe zones. All public schools, libraries, courthouses, state or locally-managed health facilities, and government-run organizations would be considered sanctuaries.
Most important, Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold requests to detain jailed illegal immigrants would not be honored statewide, a policy that has repeatedly put communities at risk. Understandably, sheriffs oppose SB 54. Sheriff Jim Mc Donald, who oversees the Los Angeles County jail system, the nation’s largest, said that among its other flaws, SB 54 endangers immigrants who criminals often consider easy targets.
A recent case in California’s sanctuary city Santa Rosa tragically proved McDonald’s point. Local Santa Rosa authorities ignored an ICE detainer request on Nery Israel Estrada-Margos, 38, after he was booked on a domestic battery charge. Just days after he was released, Estrada-Margos beat to death his girlfriend and mother of two, Veronica Cabrera Ramirez, 42, his assault victim. Estrada-Margos is a previously deported illegal alien from Guatemala.
In a statement, ICE said that the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department notified the agency only 16 minutes before releasing him, insufficient time to pick him up. The ICE statement further said that the vast majority of calls from the county over the past six months have failed to provide adequate time for ICE agents. ICE: "This case [Estrada-Margos] underscores yet again why immigration detainers are such a crucial enforcement tool and why it is highly problematic, and even tragic, when jurisdictions choose not to comply."
Take action now to block SB 54, the bill that would officially make California a sanctuary state, and which has Governor Jerry Brown’s full support.
Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your Assemblyman to reject SB 54, and to instead make the state a sanctuary for its citizens and legal permanent residents. Watch the CAPS TV ad here, and read the accompanying press release here.
Californians and non-Californians can also sign a petition here that will be delivered to the U.S. Senate and urge it to pass HR 3003, the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” that the House approved earlier this summer.