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Judicial Watch • Sheriff Assures Illegal Immigrants Are Safe In His County

Sheriff Assures Illegal Immigrants Are Safe In His County

Sheriff Assures Illegal Immigrants Are Safe In His County

Judicial Watch

While some local law enforcement agencies prefer to keep their don’t-ask-don’t-tell immigration policies quiet, one proudly announced its longtime sanctuary measure in the media this week.

The public official elected to enforce the law in a northern California county practically bragged that his agency, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, never inquires about suspects’ immigration status. “We don’t care about their immigration status and we’re prohibited from asking about it,” Sheriff Bill Cogbill told the local newspaper this week.

Twice elected to head the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, Cogbill oversees the agency that keeps the world-renowned wine country safe and runs its jails. Located about 30 miles north of San Francisco, the roughly 1,600-square-mile county has nearly half a million residents and hundreds of award-winning wineries, scenic coastline and majestic redwoods.

The 33-year law enforcement veteran assured illegal immigrants this week that they’re safe from deportation in his community. Besides forbidding deputies from asking suspects about their legal status in the U.S., Cogbill also prohibits them from assisting federal authorities during immigration raids. The agency actually stopped aiding the feds during sweeps at least twenty years ago, the sheriff said.

While he’s hardly the only law enforcement official in the U.S. to provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants, Cogbill sticks out because the contentious immigration debate has led others to keep their policies under the radar. Few have been brazen enough to announce them in the local paper, amid mounting discord over the issue.

The fact is that dozens of police departments across the country have similar immigration policies, including those in major U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and The District of Columbia. Judicial Watch has taken legal action against all four of these for disregarding federal laws.


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