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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    San Jose mayor urges county to revise policy on ICE holds

    by Ramona Giwargis
    POSTED: 07/28/15, 5:26 PM PDT | UPDATED: 17 HRS AGO

    SAN JOSE -- Nine days after a woman was gunned down in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant felon whom city authorities had released without notifying federal authorities, Mayor Sam Liccardo sent a letter to county officials urging them to reconsider a similar policy that he believes frustrates deportation efforts.

    "Contrary to the purposes served by other immigrant-focused initiatives we've supported, any policy that hastens the release of predatory criminals makes us all less safe," Liccardo, a former county prosecutor, wrote in his July 10 letter to Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese. Liccardo asked the board to publicly discuss the policy -- the second attempt since 2011 to revise it.

    But immigrant rights advocates are criticizing the mayor, saying his letter flies in the face of Liccardo's recent effort to create an Office of Immigrant Affairs, which helps immigrants navigate city services, transition into the culture and integrate into the economy.

    Lisa Maria Castellanos, policy and organizing director at Sacred Heart Community Service, said one major goal of the Office of Immigrant Affairs was to improve the immigrant community's relationships with police, but the mayor's letter sends the opposite message.

    "It's counterintuitive. It's a slippery slope that runs the risk of spreading fear in the community," she said. "We have to be careful that if we're lighting a candle with one hand that we're not pouring water on it with the other."

    But Liccardo said he's trying to protect the immigrant community by pushing for the policy changes.

    "The heavily-immigrant communities that I've represented as a council member and mayor don't want a violent felon back in their community any more than the rest of us do," he said.

    Like San Francisco, Santa Clara County adopted a policy of generally refusing to honor requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, to detain illegal immigrants. It's a policy that's irked Liccardo, who believes the county should cooperate with ICE agents in cases of serious or violent felonies. Without changing the policy, the mayor said in his letter, tragedies similar to the July 1 slaying of Kathryn Steinle are not only foreseeable, but "inevitable."

    But immigration advocates, including San Jose Councilman Raul Peralez, see it differently. They say allowing ICE into local communities creates fear and intimidation, discourages cooperation with police, and violates people's basic human rights to due process.

    Peralez said the current county policy makes a safer community by encouraging immigrants to report crime without fear of deportation. He said Liccardo's letter undermines his work as a champion for the Office of Immigrant Affairs.

    "Our mayor in this letter is essentially saying he thinks it's OK to treat undocumented individuals differently and not allow them due process," he said. "I don't think that's the community we've been championing."

    Before county supervisors approved the policy on ICE holds in 2011, District Attorney Jeff Rosen and Sheriff Laurie Smith cautioned against it.

    But the majority of supervisors, including Cortese, said they couldn't support a "two-tier" justice system that treats illegal immigrants differently.

    The heated debate in San Jose comes on the heels of reports that Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are crafting federal legislation requiring all local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with ICE. More than 50 advocacy groups signed a letter Monday urging lawmakers to reconsider.

    Santa Clara County had an estimated 183,500 illegal immigrants in 2013, the state's third largest population, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

    Local advocates said the mayor's letter appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to the recent tragedy.

    "We want to make sure the horrific tragedy that took place in San Francisco isn't used as a political rationale to change a policy that the community fought for," said Priya Murthy, policy and organizing program director for Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network. "Notifying ICE of individuals based on people's immigration status can only result in a chilling effect and distrust of law enforcement."
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2012
    I do not know what would have been difficult about that. This is so maddening, it is like waving red flags in front of a bull. It HAS BEEN VERY OBVIOUS SINCE 1990 THAT WE DID NOT EVER NEED SANCTUARY CITIES, we needed strict enforcement of the law as it exists. The country had elected GHW Bush, and he like a "good" republican would not enforce deportation law. Since the supervisors will not enforce law or cooperate with it, sanctuary cities need well organized committees enforcing deportation laws.

    Cooperate with Congress and dispose of your sanctuary laws. You may avoid citizen committees to deal with. Memo: After 25 years it is obvious that this must become citizen action. The feds will never take critical necessary action. The longer action is ignored, citizens die, children get poor educations, Americans are cheated out of work and decent wages. Cripes, how can we understand why it has went unnoticed 25 years? I'm mad as hell! Letting more and more citizens die at the hands of aliens should embarrass every voter!

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