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Immigrant Sanctuary Bill Faces Ongoing Law Enforcement Opposition

Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

This Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, photo released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shows foreign nationals being arrested during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

A bill that would essentially make California a sanctuary state is still facing some law enforcement opposition despite recent revisions.

The measure now would allow law enforcement to inform the FBI of immigrants living in the state illegally if they’re convicted of certain violent felonies and about to be released from state prison or county jail.

Democratic Senate leader Kevin de León says his bill wouldn’t protect violent criminals, and the FBI would inform Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

“I think we’re all together in this that we don’t want any violent criminal felons to be in our communities,” De León says.

But Cory Salzillo with the California State Sheriff’s Association says sheriffs would only be able to discuss people jailed for a misdemeanor conviction with a previous felony conviction.

“There are hundreds of crimes that are punishable by a felony punishment in county jail. We could not communicate about those persons if ICE wanted to talk about them.”

Republican Senator Jim Nielsen says the bill still impedes law enforcement.

“The FBI information is great, but if it does not track with local law enforcement, meaning they can’t communicate, or ICE, who does have information, can’t communicate, nor can the local jail or sheriff’s department, then we’ve got a huge problem.”

But Pedro Figueroa-Zarceno says something needs to be done. He was detained while picking up his recovered stolen car at the San Francisco Police Station.

He says while he was detained he could hear his daughter yelling, ‘daddy, daddy, I don’t want them to deport you.’ He was then held for two months before being released.

The bill passed a key committee Monday and next moves to the Senate floor.

Sally Schilling

Reporter

Sally Schilling is a Davis native and a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has reported on redwood poachers robbing national forests in Humboldt County and the dangers of melting tropical glaciers in the Peruvian Andes.  Read Full Bio