NOVEMBER 15, 2013
A large U.S. county is taking illegal immigration sanctuary to an extreme, officially adopting a measure that protects even those with serious and violent criminal records from the feds.
It’s a sanctuary county on steroids and, not surprisingly, it’s in California. Nevertheless, it’s preposterous even for a liberal local government that aims to make all immigrants part of its big, happy family. The story comes from Santa Clara County, located in the San Francisco area with a population of nearly 2 million, according to census figures.
The Santa Clara Board of Supervisors rejected a proposal this month to turn over jailed illegal aliens with serious criminal records to federal agents for deportation. The county has always protected illegal aliens, but briefly considered turning over violent criminals to the feds so they could be deported. Instead, lawmakers caved into the open borders movement, passing a measure forbidding even that.
On the day they voted, torn county supervisors listened to “more than 60 impassioned activists,” according to a local news report that says Santa Clara is one of only a handful of jurisdictions in the country that refuse to hold any inmates for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The board took up the issue on the grounds that public safety is jeopardized by releasing violent felons who could be deported.
A Hispanic supervisor (Cindy Chavez) who represents a heavily Latino district says she voted for the measure because holding even a small percentage of jailed illegal aliens for ICE would have a “chilling effect on the immigrant community’s reporting of crime.” Chavez did, however, express particular nervousness about domestic violence offenders but evidently not enough to turn them over for deportation.
Much like its neighboring municipalities, Santa Clara County is famously liberal and has long offered illegal immigrants sanctuary. It only considered the policy because the local prosecutor and sheriff warned that freeing illegal aliens convicted of violent crimes or gangbangers poses a significant risk to the community. Influential groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), countered that the county’s absolute no-holds policy has actually improved public safety by increasing immigrants’ trust in local police and by reducing their fear of reporting crimes.
This is an argument that’s repeated over and over again by the open borders movement as well as a number of municipalities that offer illegal immigrants sanctuary. Police departments such as those in Los Angeles and Chicago also cite it to justify their don’t-ask-don’t-tell immigration policies. Judicial Watch has been a frontrunner in holding these local law enforcement agencies accountable for these illegal policies and has taken legal action to change them.
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