A sheriff from California’s Central Valley is digging in his heels against the spread of sanctuary cities and counties across the state.
Far from limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood wants to ensure that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have continued access to his jails so they can identify and deport illegal alien felons.
Youngblood plans to ask the Kern County Board of Supervisors to adopt a resolution that would declare Kern a “law and order” county and not a “sanctuary” county, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Sheriff’s deputies don’t enforce immigration laws and we don’t go on federal immigration sweeps, but we do have to allow our federal partners to do their job,” Youngblood told the LA Times.
Youngblood’s request comes in response to a bill under consideration in Sacramento that would make California a “sanctuary state.” Nearly all of California’s major cities and dozens of its counties have implemented some kind of sanctuary status, limiting cooperation and information sharing with federal immigration authorities. (RELATED: Sanctuary Cities Receive Warning From DOJ)
Kern County is one of the few in the state that have bucked the sanctuary trend.
Youngblood opposes the California Trust Act, a 2014 law barring local law enforcement from holding illegal immigrants beyond their release dates at the request of immigration authorities. To circumvent the rule, he provides ICE agents office space in his jails so they can take custody of illegal alien inmates upon completion of local sentences.
He has also refused to sign paperwork for U visas, which give certain victims of crime permission to stay in the U.S., even if they are here illegally.
A Republican and Vietnam veteran, Youngblood has no shortage of critics in California, which has emerged as the leading opponent to the immigration policies of the Trump administration. Activists and Democratic opponents say he is setting his own immigration enforcement agenda in defiance of state law.
Youngblood acknowledged that his “law and order” measure would have little effect if California’s sanctuary state bill were to pass in the statehouse, telling the LA Times the move was “somewhat symbolic.”
He plans to propose “non-sanctuary” status for Kern County on May 2.
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