The State of California is now a sanctuary state thanks to SB 54 signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. When is enough, enough? How much less safe is this legislature and this governor going to make us before we say, “ENOUGH?” This legislature and governor signed SB 620, allowing a court to, in the “Interest of Justice,” strike or dismiss an enhancement for using a firearm in the commision of a crime otherwise required by law. Criminals use a gun in the commision of a crime, no problem, no enhancement, no punishment. Law abiding citizen wants to protect themselves by lawfully carrying a firearm? Tsk, tsk, no chance. This governor vetoed AB 1408, a bill aimed at keeping habitual law violators who are already on probation in custody after three violations. Claiming it was a “three strikes law,” the governor said it would be “counterproductive.” Counter to what? Public Safety?
The sanctuary state law, SB 54, is just plain bad public safety policy. It requires the state DOJ to develop “model policies” which will be forced on local agencies by the state. It requires any law enforcement joint task force, multiple agencies joining with the feds like JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) or BRAT (Bank Robbery Apprehension Team), to file a report to the state DOJ proving they were not targeting individuals based on their immigration status. Local agencies will need to report to DOJ how many criminal illegals have been transferred to ICE. It begs the question if the state will use that information to punish local agencies shown to have cooperated too much. State DOJ will publish criteria for the purposes of limiting the availability of information for immigration enforcement. You are in the country illegally, broke additional laws while here, but this state is going to limit the amount of information shared with ICE? Less safe. Suspects in custody for breaking the law, who are in the country illegally, will now be provided a “specified” written consent form in advance of any interview between the Department and Immigration regarding any civil immigration violations. Here’s a good one, there will be a state mandated local program. Sacramento will dictate the program implemented at the local level but don’t worry, they promise to fund any mandate. This law states only “violent criminals” will be subject to immigration as defined by the penal code. Unfortunately, as prop 57 showed us, there are a lot of violent felonies not listed as violent felonies in the penal code. Something this one party legislature and the governor have refused to address. Less safe.
This legislation talks about “ensuring effective policing,” protecting the constitutional rights of Californians and “directing the state’s limited resources to matters of greatest concern,” like high speed rail and water tunnels. Of course, there is associated costs for this legislation. According to senate appropriations there is a $2.7 million start up cost plus an additional $2.3 million/year cost for “compliance policies, training and outreach.” Additional costs include the $12 million legal defense fund set up to assist those in the country illegally and facing deportation. This state is inviting illegal immigration from around the world to add to our already three million people here illegally. Less Safe.
There is a scenario coming to communities that will be more and more common due to this legislation. A convicted criminal who is in this country illegally will be released from custody in spite of an immigration hold. Immigration officials will go into the neighborhood where the convict lives and find him. Officials will then check on the status of those he is with and take anyone else not in this country legally. All individuals, not just the convict, will then be sent to federal detention facilities in other states pending deportation proceedings. Even if the family is not also taken into custody, they will be forced to travel out of the state in order to visit their family member until they are deported.
The law abiding citizens of this state need to once again rise up and say, “Enough.” It is time to start fighting back against public safety policy making us less safe. The first front is in Sacramento. We need leadership to go to the capitol and fight these laws before they become law. Once they become law we need to find innovative ways to deal with these criminals being let out of prison and keep our law abiding citizens safe. The other front is through public engagement, talking to the communities we serve, being part of the community not just driving through the community. Better communication starts with actively engaging the communities we serve and ensuring those in the community know the adverse impacts of bad public safety policy before they become law. The legislature in this state, controlled by one party rule, is hell bent on letting criminals out of prison making us all less safe. It is time for all citizens to stand up and demand we put victims first and the rights of the law abiding ahead of criminals. Only then will we be safer.