Santa Clara County Considers Its Sanctuary Policy following Preventable Murder
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Wednesday’s San Jose Mercury News included a front page story considering how Santa Clara County should treat illegal aliens living there after a shocking crime.

Local open-border types brought their signs showing support for lawbreaking foreigners rather than public safety for the community.

The meeting was prompted by the terrible murder of Bambi Larson, stabbed to death in her home by an unlawful foreigner, reported here last month: San Jose Woman Is Murdered by Salvadoran Illegal Who Was Protected by California Sanctuary Policy

The accused killer had a long criminal record including previous deportation, and the police chief said that he could have been turned over to ICE half a dozen times.

There was no question that the perp is a really bad character, and a prompt deportation may well have saved Larson’s life. Yet there was strong support for general non-enforcement of immigration laws in the meeting, even against violent felons. Larson’s cousin, Rick Loek, was taken aback by some of the crowd’s preference, noting, “I’m surprised anybody would argue in favor of keeping a violent criminal in this country.”

Meanwhile, California’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, is already campaigning against President Trump with a swing through El Salvador, apparently because 680,000 Salvadorans reside in his state. A little early to be looking for a new job, no?

But back to the preventable murder in San Jose:

Santa Clara County supervisors vote to explore changes to sanctuary policy, San Jose Mercury News, April 9, 2019

After tense seven-and-a-half hour hearing with emotional public testimony, supervisors direct county staff and law enforcement to study feasibility of notifying ICE of jail releases of undocumented immigrants with violent criminal histories

SAN JOSE – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 Tuesday to explore ways to soften the county’s sanctuary policy, allowing local law enforcement to notify immigration authorities when an undocumented immigrant with a history of violent or other serious crime is released from jail.

The vote, shortly before 6 p.m., came after a seven-and-a-half hour meeting where emotions ran high and tempers sometimes flared, as the public weighed in on changing the policy, which currently forbids such notification.

More than 300 people showed up for the meeting, forcing officials to close the doors and send the overflow crowd to another room, where they could watch the debate on a television screen. Supervisors Mike Wasserman, Dave Cortese, Joseph Simitian and Cindy Chavez voted to approve the two proposals put before the board, which authorize staff and local law enforcement to investigate possible mechanisms for the policy shift and report back within 60 days.

“I am in favor of removing individuals who have committed serious and violent crimes, and have been convicted of doing so, from our communities however and whenever possible,” Wasserman said, stressing that his plan would not remove sanctuary protections against civil detainer requests from immigration agents.

Supervisor Susan Ellenberg was the lone opposition vote against the proposals, saying they would needlessly change “a policy that is working,” and argued that immigrants were being scapegoated for fueling crime when studies show they commit fewer crimes on average than U.S.-born residents.

She added that with any sanctuary policy changes, “public safety may be negligibly impacted but the impact on tens of thousands of vulnerable, law abiding residents and on vulnerable children in our county would be substantial, traumatic and lasting.”

The move to modify the county’s policy came in the wake of the brutal killing of 59 year-old Bambi Larson in her South San Jose home in February, allegedly by an undocumented immigrant wanted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Local law enforcement leaders proposed an amendment to the policy that would allow notification in cases where an undocumented immigrant who had committed crimes of violence or other serious offenses was about to be freed. County police leaders and the District Attorney have already drafted language for such a change.

Santa Clara County’s policy is stricter than state law, which bars law enforcement officials from aiding ICE by detaining undocumented immigrants but allows notification about inmates’ release. A majority of speakers at Tuesday’s meeting, however, appeared to oppose any alteration to a policy they see as a beacon for other counties.

Katiuska Pimentel Vargas, an undocumented San Jose resident and organizer with the Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network, told the supervisors that for immigrants already fearful of authorities, there is no middle ground for local police to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

“You can’t be pro-ICE and be an ally of my community,” Pimentel said.

The fallout from Larson’s killing on Feb. 28 — and the subsequent arrest of Carlos Arevalo-Carranza, 24, a native of El Salvador who, according to ICE officials, was the subject of six civil detainer requests denied by the county — has created fault lines in a liberal community where views on immigration have been relatively homogenous.

Rick Loek, a cousin of Larson, said he was surprised by how controversial the policy proposal change had become.

“This is a game of Russian roulette,” he said. “You don’t know when we release one of these people what’s going to happen.”

“I’m surprised anybody would argue in favor of keeping a violent criminal in this country,” he said. “And I want to be careful with my words — it’s not, ‘throw everybody out.’ Our country was founded on welcoming people here.” (Continues)

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