City Council addresses issue of ‘sanctuary state’ immigration laws
—Many community members spoke for and against the possible opposition from the city of Paso Robles of Senate Bill 54, which is concerned with how local law enforcement works with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers for illegal immigration purposes, at the meeting held Apr. 17.
SB 54 is state law that allows local law enforcement agencies to not work with federal ICE agencies in regards to finding a person’s immigration status and the legal repercussions. However, local law enforcement can become involved in finding the immigration status if that person has been convicted of a crime or has a warrant, according to reports. The bill became law on Jan. 1, 2018 by Governor Brown. Various counties have opted out of SB 54, such as Orange County, San Diego, and Los Alamitos. San Luis Obispo basically echoed SB 54 before it became law by becoming a “welcoming city” in Apr. 2017, according to reports.
In a Council Agenda Report by Chief of Police Robert Burton, it was reported that “SB 54 has not resulted in any significant changes for the Paso Robles Police Department (PRPD), nor are any anticipated in the future…With SB 54, PRPD now has to be careful not to use PRPD staff time or resources to assist in these-type of federal immigration enforcement matters. When conducting its work, ICE generally relies upon cooperation or notification from local law enforcement to the extent practicable and allowed by state and local laws and practices. PRPD is continuing to operate consistent with this expectation. Refusing to provide such notice or cooperation limits, but does not prevent, the federal government’s ability to enforce federal immigration laws.”
Over a dozen speakers addressed their support of the opposition of SB 54 with one speaker supporting SB 54. Discussion will continue at the next meeting with another staff report. The report might include councilman Fred Strong’s request for more information about a possible ICE facility, according to reports.