July 28, 2008
Hon. Gerald Brown
Attorney General of California
Fax: (916) 323-5341
Dear Attorney General Brown,
The recent news reports about the triple homicide in San Francisco—allegedly by an illegal alien gang member who had been convicted of violent felonies but shielded from federal immigration authorities by the city’s sanctuary policy—have outraged citizens across the state and nation. It is necessary for the California Department of Justice to take action to protect the public safety and ensure that California’s laws are enforced uniformly and adequately.
According to the California Constitution, this is the duty of the Attorney General who has direct supervision over district attorneys and local law enforcement officers. When “any law of the State is not being adequately enforced in any county, it shall be the duty of the Attorney General to prosecute any violations of law…” (California Constitution, Article V, Section 13.)
It is clear that the policy and procedures of San Francisco, and other local governments with similar “sanctuary” policies, are openly and blatantly in conflict with California law. The California Penal code provides:
834b. (a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.
(b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following:
(3) Notify the Attorney General of California and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status and provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity.
(c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city, county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly prohibited.
It is unacceptable and irresponsible for cities to declare themselves sanctuaries from enforcement of state and federal law. Sanctuaries from law enforcement simply contribute to an atmosphere of lawlessness. Californians rightfully expect their elected officials to perform the duties of their offices. Failure to do so makes a sham of our democratic system and values.
We ask that you:
- Issue a legal opinion that sanctuary city policies are illegal under California state law.
- Inform all local government entities that sanctuary city policies are illegal on their face.
- Inform all law enforcement agencies in California that they are legally obligated to fully cooperate with federal immigration officers regarding any person who is arrested if that person is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.
- Inform all law enforcement agencies in California that they are legally obligated to investigate the legal status of any arrestee suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws and to notify the Attorney General of California and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement of that apparent illegal status and provide any additional requested information.
- Implement procedures within the Office of the Attorney General of California to cooperate with and share information with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 6. Investigate the actions of local government officials in California who have violated provisions of Section 834 of California Penal Code to determine if they are subject to prosecution and criminal penalties.
We trust that you will act without delay to perform your duties to protect public safety and security, and to ensure the fair enforcement of the laws of California. We look forward to your prompt response.
Diana Hull, Ph.D., President
Californians for Population Stabilization