California Sheriff Revolts Against Sanctuary State Law, Makes Inmates’ Release Dates Public

Will Racke | Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter

The sheriff’s department in a major Los Angeles metro area county announced Monday that it will begin publishing a list of inmate release dates, spurning a provision of California’s sanctuary state law that limits communication between local officials and immigration authorities.

As of Monday, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s online inmate database includes the date and time of a prisoner’s release, a change that agency officials say will improve communication with federal law enforcement partners.

While the database will include release dates for all inmates, not just illegal immigrants, the newly public information is aimed at helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) take removable criminal aliens into custody after they serve local jail time.

“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),” Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes said, according to the Orange County Register.

SB54, also known as the California Values Act, became law on Jan. 1. The law limits what state and local officials can share with federal authorities about the immigration status of California residents. Most controversially, SB54 prevents jail officials from honoring ICE detention requests and, in some cases, notifying immigration officials when criminal aliens are going to be released from custody.

While SB54 is widely supported in California’s Democratic-dominated cities, several communities in Orange County have sought ways to push back against it. The city council in Lost Alamitos voted 4-1 to exempt the city from SB54 earlier in March, and other Orange County municipalities are considering a range of resolutions to express their opposition to the law.

Although it broke 50-45 for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, Orange County is something of a conservative enclave in deep-blue California. It has become the epicenter of a small but growing movement opposing the state’s resistance to President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement policies in recent months.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors is set to consider Tuesday a range of possible actions against California’s sanctuary laws, including a county resolution or litigation against the state.

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