By Erik Garcia
Orange County’s riding a wave of anti-immigrant hysteria that’s putting its Know Nothings back in the national spotlight. The Orange County board of supervisors got its turn after passing a resolution last week and joining federal lawsuits that seek to undermine SB 54–California’s “Sanctuary State” law–in building on a momentum that started in Los Alamitos last month. Not to be left out of the wave, OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens also grabbed her surfboard last week when announcing that inmate release dates would be made public–a ploy that gives la migra the opportunity to pluck undocumented immigrants right outside of her wretched detention facilities.
Since the California Values Act (SB 54’s nice legislative name) passed six months ago, Sheriff Hutchens and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) she leads have done everything in their power to compromise it. OC was the last remaining county in the state to have a 287 (g) agreement. The program allowed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enter into formal written accords with state or local police departments and deputize selected state and local law enforcement officers to perform the functions of federal immigration. California’s Sanctuary State law came as a big blow to Hutchens’ anti-immigrant agenda and her department has consistently sought to get around it.
Now that cities and the county have hopped on the Know Nothing Express, the OCSD is fanning the flames by posting inmate release dates on its website for the sake of collaborating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Isn’t that ironic? The OCSD is publicizing the release dates of all inmates under the guise of public safety and the need to respect the law, but hid a database of jailhouse informants from defense attorneys and judges in the snitch scandal Hutchens’ newfound Trump fans across the country willfully ignore!
The narrative this current OC anti-immigrant wave has established is one of arresting all “criminals.” However, the people they’re claiming to want to to target can already be turned over to the Feds. The California Values Act provides OCSD with the discretion to respond to ICE’s requests for notification of the pending release of serious offenders under the TRUST Act. The legislation prohibits local law enforcement’s communication with ICE on the release of certain undocumented offenders, not all.
Sheriff Hutchens previously stated that the California Values Act makes local law enforcement’s job more difficult but that her department remains committed to cooperating fully with federal authorities. Making jail release info public was done with the sole purpose of feeding the deportation machine and furthering an anti-immigrant agenda. Before looking to help ICE with deportations, the OCSD needs to worry about making sure it can run local operations correctly without violating people’s right to due process.
It’s evident that the OCSD only has a political agenda to follow, regardless of the laws they break and families they separate.