CA ‘Sanctuary’ Law Doesn’t Free Violent Criminals

So says the Los Angeles Times, which examines claims by President Trump and others that the law releases “violent criminal aliens … to prey on innocent Americans.”

As the fight over California’s immigration policies intensifies, so have the attacks from opponents who argue its “sanctuary state” law is allowing the release of violent criminals into the streets. The California Values Act, signed into law last year, prevents law enforcement officers in many cases from holding and questioning people at the request of federal immigration agents, and limits them from sharing the release dates of some county jail inmates in the U.S. illegally.  The law has set off a tense showdown over public safety. Some who oppose it have distorted its scope, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The Times takes a close look at several charges. For example, President Trump, in a tweet last month, said, “Thousands of dangerous & violent criminal aliens are released as a result of sanctuary policies, set free to prey on innocent Americans.” The tweet misrepresents the law in claiming it allows the release of violent criminals. The statute prohibits alerting federal immigration agents of an inmate’s release from a county jail,  unless the information is already available to the public, or if the person has been convicted of any of the 800 offenses outlined in a 2013 state law. That list includes serious or violent felonies, arson, registered sex offenses and domestic violence. Many other crimes are on the list, including nonviolent drug charges and “wobblers,” criminal offenses that can be charged under California law as a felony or misdemeanor. In those cases, cooperation with federal immigration officials is allowed. The sanctuary law also permits state prison officials to work with federal immigration agents on deportations, and immigration agents are still allowed to enter county jails to question immigrants.