Democrat Bob Casey Criticized for Illegal Immigrant Crime ‘Surge’ in Pennsylvania

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, on D
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) has been criticized by conservatives for opposing measures that would crack down on illegal immigration as the Keystone State experiences a “surge” of illegal immigrant crime.

Sean Parnell, a conservative who previously ran for Senate, shared a news report about how illegal alien gangs are stealing “large quantities of merchandise” from across the state.

An immigration detainee sits in a high security unit at the Theo Lacy Facility, a county jail which also houses immigration detainees arrested by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), March 14, 2017 in Orange, California, about 32 miles (52km) southeast of Los Angeles. US President Donald Trumps first budget provides more than USD Photo: ROBYN BECK;Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images
Arrests by federal immigration officials at California jails dropped by nearly a third in the months after the state implemented its historic immigrant sanctuary law last year, according to a new report from the University of Oxford.
Yet 40 percent of police agencies studied are using legal loopholes and outdated law enforcement policies to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or are violating the sanctuary law altogether, the report said.
The analysis from the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, a pro-immigrant civil rights group, and the University of Oxford Center for Criminology in England was released Wednesday amid a renewed debate about sanctuary policies in the Bay Area and how far law enforcement agencies can legally go to protect undocumented immigrants.
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On Tuesday, law enforcement leaders in Santa Clara County called on the Board of Supervisors to loosen the county’s sanctuary policy following the murder of 59-year-old Bambi Larson, who was fatally stabbed in her San Jose home last month. Police arrested Carlos Arevalo-Carranza, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, on suspicion of Larson’s murder. Arevalo-Carranza had a long criminal history and had evaded immigration authorities who had sought to detain him several times.
In a letter to the supervisors, 11 police chiefs, Sheriff Laurie Smith and District Attorney Jeff Rosen urged the board to let jails notify ICE agents about the release of inmates charged with or convicted of serious felonies or violent misdemeanors, as the state’s sanctuary law, SB54, permits. The county prohibits law enforcement from notifying ICE when an inmate is released from custody or from holding inmates past their release date so that ICE can pick them up.
“The existing policy that allows predatory criminals to evade lawful deportation requests makes everyone less safe,” the county officials wrote.
FILE – In this Jan. 10, 2018, file photo, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents gather before serving an employment audit notice at a 7-Eleven convenience store, in Los Angeles. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is the face of President Donald Trump’s hard-line immigration policy. But agency officials say their mandate is misunderstood. Government data shows ICE is mostly targeting criminals, but also that the agency has greatly ramped up overall arrests and increased the number of people arrested solely on immigration violations. And the most frequent criminal conviction was for drunken driving. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
Photo: Chris Carlson, AP
The state’s sanctuary law prohibits local law enforcement officers from helping federal authorities detain and deport immigrants except in cases of violence or a serious felony. Even so, some law enforcement groups and conservatives oppose the policy, saying it encourages illegal immigration and lets criminals evade jail time. The Legislature passed the law in 2017 in response to President Trump’s hard-line immigration policies.
ICE said allowing undocumented immigrants who commit crimes to be released “puts our communities in avoidable potential danger.”
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“Families who have lost loved ones at the hands of a removable criminal alien can share the heart-breaking aftermath they have to live with every day because of this irresponsible law,” ICE said in a statement Wednesday. “To be clear, ICE neither expects, nor wants, local law enforcement agencies to participate in immigration enforcement in the community; but as law enforcement officers, we do expect our partners to participate in protecting public safety.”
The report found ICE arrests at local jails decreased by 31 percent — 985 arrests — in the first five months after SB54 was implemented. The study compared the number of ICE arrests made from January to May 2018, with the same period in 2017, before the law took effect.
But the effects of SB54 remain “partial and unfinished,” as law enforcement agencies across California continue sharing information about undocumented immigrants with ICE, the report said.
“Even with some failures of implementation, these laws are incredibly effective at disentangling local law enforcement (from) ICE,” said co-author Peter Mancina, a research associate at Oxford’s Center for Criminology who has studied sanctuary policies in California for about a decade.
The report also analyzed public documents from 169 law enforcement agencies — including 121 police departments and 48 sheriff’s departments — and found that 68 of them, 40 percent, were out of compliance with the law.
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Dozens of law enforcement agencies are using an exception under SB54 that lets them provide inmates’ release dates to ICE or to Customs and Border Protection if the detainees’ criminal history meets certain requirements, or if the information is already available to the general public. Statewide, 24 sheriff’s departments posted the dates when inmates would be released, their hearing dates and locations, what city they lived in, their occupation, and other personal information, according to the report.
The California Sheriffs’ Association and the California Police Chiefs Association declined to comment.
The Marin County Sheriff’s Office, which shared inmate-release information with ICE officers before the state’s sanctuary law was approved, began posting inmate release information on its website after the law took effect in January 2018 — but stopped last fall, except in cases where an inmate is charged with or convicted of a serious or violent crime, said Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle. Frustration with Trump’s immigration policies and a meeting with immigrant right groups in Marin led Doyle to re-evaluate his department’s policy, he said.
In San Jose, law enforcement provides a wide range of information to ICE by using “broad and undefined” policy language that lets police share information with ICE, according to the report, which cited a San Jose police policy requiring officers to share information with ICE about people charged with certain drug crimes. The report said that was in violation of the state’s sanctuary law. But the report failed to note that San Jose police changed this policy in March 2018, two months after the study began.
San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia disputed the report’s findings, saying his agency does not cooperate with ICE on civil immigration enforcement — but does cooperate with ICE’s criminal arm, Homeland Security Investigations, in cases of human trafficking, gang enforcement, weapons smuggling, money laundering, and cyber and financial crimes.
“We would coordinate on those criminal investigation efforts as our community would expect us to,” Garcia said in a statement.
Tatiana Sanchez is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @TatianaYSanchez
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Tatiana Sanchez covers immigration and civil rights for The Chronicle. She got her start in journalism in the California desert, where she covered the marginalized immigrant communities of the eastern Coachella Valley for The Desert Sun. Previous stops also include the San Diego Union-Tribune and most recently, the Mercury News in San Jose. A Bay Area native, she received a master’s in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University.
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Parnell noted that Casey in 2021 opposed a measure ensuring that illegal alien criminals would not be granted amnesty.

He wrote, “Worth pointing out: As illegal immigrant crime surges in Pennsylvania, our radical leftwing Senator Bob Casey voted against an amendment in 2021 to prevent illegals who have been charged with a crime from being granted amnesty.”

“Reminder: Senator Bob Casey of PA stood by Biden as he reversed Trump’s immigration policies and opened our border up to an invasion of illegal immigrants. Had Bob Casey actually done his job and fought to keep our border secure, crimes like this wouldn’t be happening,” Andrew Surabian, a former Trump White House staffer, wrote.

Indeed, Casey voted 2021 in lockstep with Senate Democrats to oppose an amendment offered by Sen. Chuck Grassley.

The amendment’s statement of purpose reads, “To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to prohibiting illegal aliens with criminal records from receiving conditional or lawful permanent resident status in the United States.”

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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