LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today sent a letter to United States Senators opposing S. 2146, the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act, legislation proposed by Senator David Vitter (R- Louisiana), which would potentially withhold federal funding from California law enforcement agencies who comply with the state Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tool Act (TRUST Act).
In the letter, Attorney General Harris expresses concerns over this effort to undermine the delicate balance struck in California to protect public safety and strengthen the relationship of trust between law enforcement and communities.
“I strongly believe that serious and violent criminals—whether undocumented or not—should be held accountable for their crimes. But when local law enforcement officials are seen as de facto immigration agents, it erodes the trust between our peace officers and the communities we are sworn to serve,” Attorney General Harris stated in the letter. “Criminal justice policy should not be conflated with national immigration policy.”
In June 2014, Attorney General Harris sent a bulletin to law enforcement agencies in California, outlining their responsibilities and potential liability for complying with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) federal detainer requests for undocumented immigrants.
The letter makes clear that California local law enforcement agencies are always able to notify ICE about serious criminals or those who pose a threat to public safety or national security. The TRUST Act allows local law enforcement to notify ICE about serious criminals, while requiring that local agencies analyze public safety risks posed by an individual, including a review of the arrest offense and criminal history, before deciding whether to devote local resources to hold an undocumented immigrant on behalf of the federal government.
The letter to the Senate is attached to the online version of this release at www.oag.ca.gov/news.
The law enforcement bulletin is available online here: http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/law_enforcement/14-01_le_info_bulletin.pdf.