GOP lawmaker's bill targets 'sanctuary cities'
Stephen Wall
Created: 02/23/2010 06:24:44 PM PST

A Republican state lawmaker has introduced a bill seeking to bar "sanctuary cities" from sending suspected illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds to other counties.
Sanctuary cities are municipalities that refuse to allow their funds or resources to be used to enforce federal immigration laws.

The bill by Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, R-Rancho Cucamonga, would prohibit a county probation officer from placing an offender suspected of being in the country illegally in a residential group facility in another county.

In 2008, San Francisco, a self-proclaimed sanctuary city, shipped eight juvenile Honduran crack dealers to an unsecured group home in Yucaipa rather than sending them to federal authorities for deportation and a ban on returning to the United States.

Within days, the eight offenders escaped from the home, provoking an outcry from San Bernardino county officials.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom subsequently reversed the city's policy and federal authorities are now notified when juvenile illegal immigrants are arrested.

But Emmerson said the law must be changed because there are other sanctuary cities that could send their offenders to another county. Just because San Francisco has stopped its policy under Newsom doesn't mean it can't be reintroduced in the future, he said.

"If a city wants to violate federal law, they shouldn't be allowed to dump their problem on an unsuspecting county, putting our neighborhoods in jeopardy," Emmerson said.
Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucaipa, said he supports the bill.

"These issues have to be handled by San Francisco or whatever the county of origin is," Cook said. "We have enough problems in San Bernardino County. This is one additional headache."