SB 54 to be placed on future council agenda

| May 03, 2018

By Cameron Kiszla

Supporters of undocumented immigrants in the United States would have found little sanctuary if they’d been at the April 25 Camarillo City Council meeting.

All 16 speakers at the meeting railed against SB 54—California’s “sanctuary state” bill—and the undocumented immigrants themselves, whom the Americanflag-clad activists often painted as violent criminals invading the United States.

The bill prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect or arrest people for immigration enforcement purposes.

There were also 13 comment cards submitted, all of which opposed SB 54, City Manager Dave Norman said.

About 60 people attended the public comment segment of the meeting and waved signs that read: “No, no, no sanctuary state! It’s called ‘harboring fugitives.’”

Camarillo resident Jean Kohut told the council she was concerned about undocumented immigrants committing crimes. She added that sanctuary cities can endanger nearby cities, even those that aren’t sanctuary cities, because undocumented immigrants will travel.

“If we think that our beautiful, lovely, clean city . . . that (crime) can’t happen here, it can happen here,” she said.

According to the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California, there were between 2.35 and 2.6 million undocumented immigrants in the state in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available.

That’s about 6 percent of the state’s population and a quarter of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants who live in the U.S., the PPIC said. And those undocumented immigrants are probably not increasing crime rates, recent studies have found.

According to a study that appeared earlier this year in the peerreviewed journal “Criminology,” illegal immigration and crime have no statistical relationship.

In fact, the study found, undocumented immigrants may actually commit less violent crime than citizens, though the numbers were not as conclusive. A 2018 analysis of more than 50 studies on immigration and crime in the “Annual Review of Criminology” confirmed those results.

A couple of hopefuls for local elected offices talked about the potential dangers of illegal immigration.

Jeffrey Burum, a Republican who hopes to unseat U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Thousand Oaks), and Bruce Boyer, who recently lost his lawsuit to appear on the ballot to replace Sheriff Geoff Dean but plans to appeal the ruling, urged the council to oppose the sanctuary state bill. Neither Burum nor Boyer live in Camarillo.

“(Undocumented immigrants are) an illegal bloodless invasion,” Burum said. “Some people will say it’s not bloodless, but it is an invasion.”

Boyer took the rhetoric a step further and alluded to Luis Bracamontes, who illegally emigrated from Mexico and was convicted earlier this year of killing two Sacramento-area law enforcement officers in 2014. Boyer called Bracamontes “illegal alien vermin.”

After about an hour of speakers, Councilmember Mike Morgan informed attendees that the council will put an item about SB 54 on a future agenda. The council is next scheduled to meet on May 9.

“I’m very much against (SB 54), and so is this council. We’ve already said we were,” Morgan said. The council sent a letter to the state Senate opposing SB 54 in May 2017.

City Attorney Brian Pierik said he will look into the council’s options to oppose the bill. If the council decides to defy the state and align itself with the federal government, Camarillo would join Simi Valley and at least nine Orange County cities that support Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ lawsuit against the state over sanctuary-state-related legislation.

San Diego and Orange counties also voted to support the suit, and Huntington Beach filed a lawsuit of its own. The City Council of Thousand Oaks chose to remain neutral on SB 54. Gov. Jerry Brown remains unwavering in his support of the bill, which was passed in October with support from state Sen. Henry Stern (DCalabasas) and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Camarillo).

“This bill does not prevent or prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Homeland Security from doing their own work in any way,” Brown wrote in October in a note to the state Senate. “They are free to use their own considerable resources to enforce federal immigration law in California.”