Sheriff in crossfire on immigration program – San Jose Mercury News
Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner Phil Wowak on Tuesday found himself caught between an encroaching federal immigration program and resistance from local Latinos who want the county’s top law enforcement official to take a strong stand against it. Appearing before the county Board of Supervisors, Wowak outline his plans to layer his own local reviews into a Department of Homeland Security program known as Se Communities, which uses local jail bookings to help deport undocumented immigrants. It is aimed at those with a history of violence. But critics say the program sweeps up nonviolent offenders and even U.S. citizens, and local rights groups say Se Communities could impact public safety here by making illegal immigrants more reluctant to contact police. They want Wowak to resist the program. Wowak said he would implement assessments of jailed immigrants.