The new sanctuary California state law (Senate Bill 54) is not as bad as it sounds.
As originally formulated, it would have been a considerable setback for the administration. It would have limited communication with federal immigration authorities; and prevented officers from questioning and holding people on immigration violations.
But the good news is that in its scaled-down, final version — courtesy of Republican legislators and sheriffs who pushed for amendments — Bill 54 makes possible the removal of dangerous criminals from our cities for good.
It allows federal immigration authorities to keep working with state corrections officials and to continue entering county jails to question immigrants. The legislation also permits police and sheriffs to share information and transfer people to immigration authorities if they have been convicted of serious crimes.
These may not be “detainers” in the technical sense. But if this law delivers results, why keep pushing something that most legal scholars (and even sheriffs) agree violates the Fourth Amendment?
Bill 54 may just be the way to get detainers without “detainers.”
In practice the close cooperation and communication between law enforcement and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enshrined in Bill 54 accomplishes the same goal. Already the Obama-era system of shared databases provides a wealth of information to ICE that makes possible immediate communication between FBI, DHS, and local jails.
There is indeed in this law “sanctuary” for the non-violent, non-criminal illegal alien, without question. But I have argued that the final status of the law-abiding, non-violent illegal immigrant should be decided through comprehensive immigration reform, not executive order.
Far from a defeat for the administration’s immigration policies, this law paradoxically can serve as a template that will usher in a new era of cooperation between cities, states, and federal immigration authorities.
In touting this law as a model that should be adopted nation-wide, it is ironic that California just may have laid the foundation for the demise of the sanctuary city movement.
Elvira Salazar is a five-time Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist and news anchor of MEGA TV. She has interviewed Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and was the only U.S. Spanish language television journalist to obtain a one-on-one interview with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Salazar wrote her first book, "If God Be With You, Who Shall Be Against You?" selling out the first edition in three months. She holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of Miami and earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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