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Tuolumne County Becomes Third In State To Oppose California Sanctuary Law

City of Sonora / Courtesy

Downtown Sonora in Tuolumne County.

City of Sonora / Courtesy

Tuolumne County supervisors passed a resolution to declare it not a sanctuary jurisdiction, becoming the third state county — and the first in Northern California — to oppose California’s sanctuary law.

San Diego and Orange counties previously passed similar resolutions.

Supervisor Karl Rodefer voiced his opinion at the board meeting on Tuesday that he was following the voters’ wishes. “The vast majority of our residents in Tuolumne County don’t support the concept of a sanctuary Tuolumne County,” he said.

Mercedes Tune from the Mother Lode American Civil Liberties Union spoke against the vote. “With brown skin and brown hair, I have been starting to carry with me my passport because I am so afraid that I will be stopped,” she said.

It also was personal for Sandra Casillas, whose husband was deported eight years ago, leaving her to raise their children and needing public assistance. “My kids, all four of them, have to live without their father because someone thinks it’s ideal to follow the law without looking at the real problems that this causes,” she said.

Tuolumne Sheriff Jim Mele says California’s sanctuary law is flawed, but that his jail has only seen five bookings of people who were undocumented in the past year-and-a-half.

“One of those individuals was booked three times, and obviously it did not come to the attention of [Immigration and Customs Enforcement],” he said. “We do follow the rules, and this law is not a good law.”

He also criticized the state for dictating terms to law enforcement. “The state of California, in my opinion, has opened up Pandora’s Box,” he said. “When you start dictating to departments, agencies who you can and can’t talk to, where does it end?”

Supervisors voted unanimously to pass the resolution, but Rodifer says nothing will change.

“We’re not going to run out and start arresting people and charging people,” he said. “This is merely a statement that we don’t support the concept of sanctuary entities.”

Rich Ibarra

Contributing Central Valley/Foothills Reporter

As the Central Valley correspondent, Rich Ibarra covers San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties, along with the foothill areas including Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. He covers politics, the economy and issues affecting the region.   Read Full Bio 

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