Many Calif. Sheriffs Opt for Enforcement

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

October 5, 2015

The cost in lives has been steep, but finally some California sheriffs’ departments have agreed to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents into their jails to interview illegal aliens deemed public safety risks.

Recently released illegal aliens murdered Californians Kate Steinle, Marilyn Pharis and many others. Their preventable deaths have jolted local law enforcement in a growing number of California counties into the common sense practice of giving ICE an opportunity to take custody of the most dangerous criminals.

Los Angeles Sheriff Patch
L.A. County announces it will cooperate with ICE.

In July, CAPS reported that Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims permits ICE background checks inside her prisons, and since Kate’s and Marilyn’s murders, other California counties have expressed their willingness to cooperate with federal immigration officials: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Marin, San Diego and San Bernardino.

Los Angeles County, California’s largest, is the latest to work with ICE on notifying the agency when heinous felons are scheduled for release so that detention officers can pick them up. The terms under which the different counties give ICE access vary slightly, but all represent a major step forward toward citizen safety.

Marsha Catron, a Department of Homeland Security representative, said that today “more than half of the roughly 340 jurisdictions nationwide that previously declined to cooperate with ICE are doing so in some form.”

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