National Sheriffs’ Association Says Enforcement ‘Chilling Effect’ a Ruse

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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 joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

April 5, 2017

In open and arrogant defiance of the White House, the Department of Justice, the California State Sheriffs’ Association, the California Peace Officers and California’s roughly 36 million citizens and legal permanent residents, the California Senate passed SB 54, the so-called sanctuary state bill. Officially named the California Values Act, the bill would bar local and state law enforcement from using their resources to help federal immigration enforcement. The bill now advances to the state Assembly.

De León’s math: California’s 2.5 to 3 million illegal immigrants
more important than state’s 36 million citizens, legal permanent residents.

Supporting statements that California legislators made on behalf of SB 54 included fearmongering rhetoric which suggested that Immigration Customs and Enforcement is on the brink of raiding schools and hospitals to remove illegal immigrants.

California Senate Pro Tem President Kevin de León said, as other advocates have repeatedly claimed, that President Trump’s commitment to immigration law enforcement has a “chilling effect.” De León averred that SB 54, on the other hand, would help ensure that all the state’s residents report violent crimes and are comfortable in their communities. By “all the state’s residents,” de León means illegal immigrants who, supposedly, once protected by sanctuary status, will come forward to report crimes. Most citizens and legal residents don’t hesitate to summon the police when circumstances warrant law enforcement’s presence.

But like most anti-enforcement canards, there’s no evidence to back up de León’s chilling effect premise. National Sheriffs’ Association executive director Jonathan Thompson told the Washington Examiner that to his knowledge illegal immigrants are not a significant source of information for law enforcement – even in sanctuary cities.

Sheriff Chuck Jenkins of Frederick County, Md., who claimed he’s heard the chilling effect argument many times during his ten years on the job, agreed with Thompson and said he’s never seen hard or even anecdotal evidence to prove that it exists. Jenkins added that most jurisdictions never inquire about immigration status “so the whole argument doesn't really make sense.”

Bottom line: to protect about 2.5 to 3 million illegal immigrants and put about 36 million Californians at risk, de León is willing to gamble not only $392 million that it received last year in Department of Justice grants but also a claw back, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions called it, of $3 billion in funding granted during the last decade.

 

Time is running out. Please go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to urge your legislators to vote no on SB 54. Contact Gov. Jerry Brown’s office here to reinforce your message.

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