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Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner Phil Wowak said Friday there won’t be immediate changes to how the county handles inmates eligible to be deported under a controversial immigration program, and that future changes are likely to come as part of a broader shift across California. Wowak made the comments after state Attorney General Kamala Harris this week told local jailers that compliance with the Justice Department’s Se Communities program was optional. So far, thousands of illegal immigrants nationwide have been plucked from local jails and sent back to their native country under the 4-year-old program, many without facing serious charges. “Our goal is to get a consistent approach rather than individual interpretations and individual responses from different counties,” Wowak said Friday after returning from an Oakland meeting of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, where Harris’ bulletin was discussed. Wowak stressed that the state’s top cop’s carries no legal weig
President Obama’s over-the-top approach to immigration enforcement — including an overreliance on the harmful program known as Se Communities — has devastated immigrant communities in the United States. And it has divided Democrats. This became clear last year when three Democratic governors — Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Pat Quinn of Illinois, and Andrew Cuomo of New York — announced they were pulling out of Se Communities, only to be informed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that they couldn’t because — despite assurances that the program was optional — participation was mandatory. The bureaucratic snake oil didn’t end there. In theory, Se Communities — which acts as a force multiplier because it requires local police to submit to federal authorities the fingerprints of anyone they arrest who they suspect might be in the country illegally (i.e., anyone who looks Latino) — should focus only on serious and violent criminals. But, in practice…
California State Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a law enforcement bulletin Tuesday saying that complying with the federal government’s Se Communities program is voluntary. This means that if there is a federal immigration hold placed on someone taken into custody, local law enforcement can decide if they want to honor that hold, she said. This is after a review showed that the se communities program had deported too many people who were not criminals. Agencies from the Chula Vista police department to the San Diego County sheriff’s department told NBC 7 San Diego Wednesday that they were still meeting internally to decide their response to the bulletin.
State Attorney General Kamala Harris waded into the immigration debate, telling local law enforcement Tuesday that they have the power to ignore Obama administration requests that they hold illegal immigrants. By issuing a bulletin to local police and sheriffs, Harris is challenging President Barack Obama, her friend and ally. She campaigned for him four years ago and again this year, and he campaigned for her when she won election in 2010. Harris also is a savvy politician who knows how to count. Latinos probably will support her stand, and they made up more than 20 percent of the California electorate last month. Harris’ position undermines Obama’s Se Communities program, which has led to the deportation of 1.4 million illegal immigrants, many of whom broke no laws but for their undocumented immigration status.
Sheriffs in Bay Area counties are divided on whether they must go along with federal requests to turn over suspected illegal immigrants who land in local jails, an issue raised anew this week by state Attorney General Kamala Harris. San Francisco complies only if an immigrant booked on suspicion of a crime already has a serious criminal record. Santa Clara County, under a policy approved last year by its Board of Supervisors, goes a step further and won’t hold anyone for immigration authorities unless the federal government funds the cost of an extra day’s confinement, a price the government has declined to pay. Alameda, Contra Costa and San Mateo counties hand over all inmates sought by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a policy also backed by the California State Sheriffs Association. But Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston says he’s considering a change after meeting with local Latino and clergy groups.
The Los Angeles County sheriff will no longer honor federal requests to detain suspected illegal immigrants nabbed for low-level crimes like petty theft and graffiti after new state guidelines noted the practice is voluntary, a spokesman said on Wednesday. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca announced the change a day after California’s attorney general issued a directive, welcomed by immigration activists, that compliance with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention requests was discretionary. Attorney General Kamala Harris is the highest state official so far to join a handful of dissenting authorities in major U.S. cities who oppose a cooperation program between immigration agents and local law enforcement known as “Se Communities. A spokesman for Baca, who has in the past supported federal immigration requests, said new guidelines were being written and would likely come into effect by the end o
Many Bay Area counties said they have already been using their own discretion when notifying ICE about suspected illegal immigrants—something State Attorney General Kamala Harris just gave them permission to do. Some even said that Harris’s decision doesn’t go far enough. Santa Clara County, San Francisco, order and Berkeley officials said they have already declined to comply with the Se Communities detention orders which requires that law enforcement agencies hold those who are suspected of being an undocumented immigrant after being arrested form some unrelated crime.
Many Bay Area counties said they have already been using their own discretion when notifying ICE about suspected illegal immigrants—something State Attorney General Kamala Harris just gave them permission to do. Some even said that Harris’s decision doesn’t go far enough. Santa Clara County, San Francisco, site and Berkeley officials said they have already declined to comply with the Se Communities detention orders which requires that law enforcement agencies hold those who are suspected of being an undocumented immigrant after being arrested form some unrelated crime.
Las peticiones de detención solicitadas por el Servicio de Migración y Aduanas (ICE) para los inmigrantes indocumentados que se hacen bajo el programa federal Comunidades Seguras no son un mandato por lo que las agencias locales deben usar el criterio para responder, order anunció ayer la procuradora Kamala Harris. El anuncio de Harris se da 24 horas después de que el asambleísta demócrata de San Francisco, store Tom Ammiano reintrodujera el Acta de Confianza, (AB4) que busca frenar el impacto que ha tenido Comunidades Seguras en las deportaciones y separación de familias de inmigrantes que no han tenido delitos o condenas serios. “Este anuncio deja en claro que el gobierno federal no puede obligar a los jefes y sheriffs a mantener detenidos a los inmigrantes con base en una petición”, precisó la procuradora durante una conferencia de prensa en San Francisco. Agregó que los jefes de policía y sheriffs tienen que decidir bajo su criterio y autoridad si honran esa petición o no.