A wave of backlash against “sanctuary” immigration laws in California is cresting with the announcement of Orange County’s “Who’s in Jail” online database.
Undersheriff Don Barnes was explicit about the reason for the move. According to a report by the Orange County Register, Barnes said: “This is in response to SB-54 limiting our ability to communicate with federal authorities and our concern that criminals are being released to the street when there’s another avenue to safeguard the community by handing them over (to ICE for potential deportation).”
UC Irvine Immigrant Rights Clinic Co-Director Annie Lai explained that while SB-54 already allows authorities to notify federal agencies when an illegal immigrant is released after a serious crime, the change will “[affect] everybody else who doesn’t have a serious criminal history under SB-54.”
The controversial sanctuary laws are currently being challenged by officials in Orange County, Aliso Viejo, and Buena Part. Joining them is the Department of Justice by way of a GOP-supported lawsuit contesting their Constitutional merit.
At a gathering of Sacramento police officers, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that “the Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair, and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you.” He said the suit was “fighting to make your jobs safer and to help you reduce crime in America.”
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf drew national criticism to the issue in February when she tweeted a warning about an imminent ICE raid in northern California. Officials claim her warning enabled many — including serious criminals — to evade capture by the authorities.