by Jason Hopkins
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has been forced to release thousands of criminal illegal aliens in the past two years, with both the sheriff’s department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement blaming California’s statewide sanctuary law.
California’s SB 54, legislation that largely restricts cooperation between ICE and law enforcement, went into effect in January 2018. Since that time, Orange County has released over 2,100 illegal aliens back into the community despite ICE detainers placed on every single one of them, the agency announced in a Wednesday press release. The sheriff’s department released 1,106 inmates without notifying ICE in 2018 and released another 1,015 again in 2019 without notifying the agency.
Local authorities are in support of the sanctuary policy, but say their hands are tied because of the statewide law.
“SB 54 has made our community less safe. The law has resulted in new crimes because my deputies were unable to communicate with their federal partners about individuals who committed serious offenses and present a threat to our community if released,” Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Don Barnes said in a statement.
“The two-year social science experiment with sanctuary laws must end. Rather than protect our immigrant community, the law has enabled offenders to be released, often times back into the immigrant communities they prey upon, and create new victims,” Barnes continued.
Many of the illegal aliens who the county released landed right back into local custody. A total of 411 illegal aliens, all of whom had ICE detainers before being released, were re-arrested on additional charges. Many of the additional charges included rape, child sex offenses, assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, driving under the influence and identify theft.
Such alleged actions would not have likely taken place had Orange County authorities been able to honor the ICE detainers to begin with.
Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence commended the sheriff of Orange County for speaking up against the law.
“I applaud Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes for his continued efforts to explain why these sanctuary policies do not make sense when it comes [to] public safety. This is exactly what ICE has said time and again,” Albence said.
“These policies do nothing but ensure that criminals are released back into the community, where many re-offend, instead of being turned over to ICE. These are preventable crimes, and more importantly, preventable victims,” the ICE chief continued, adding:
“As the data released by Sheriff Barnes clearly demonstrates, all communities are safer when local law enforcement works with ICE.”
Former California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed the California Values Act in October 2017. The bill, among other things, bans state and local agencies from honoring ICE detainer requests, which are requests the agency makes when an illegal alien is placed into local custody for an unrelated crime. Such holds allow an ICE agent to arrive and make an apprehension.
President Donald Trump highlighted California’s sanctuary law during his State of the Union address Tuesday night. One of his special guests was Jody Jones, the brother of a California man who was killed by an illegal alien. Local authorities had previously arrested that alien but released him because of SB 54.
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Jason Hopkins is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.