Santa Ana, CA – The Orange County Sheriff’s Department leadership does not approve of the state’s sanctuary law that limits cooperation with federal immigration officials.
The sheriff’s department announced March 26 that it would make it public when inmates were released from custody.
On Monday, the county established a “Who’s in Jail” online database that included the date and time when inmates are released.
The sheriff’s department said in a statement posted on their Facebook page the goal was to improve communication between law enforcement partners to remove dangerous offenders from our community.
Public information will available for all inmates, regardless of citizenship status, the Orange County Register reported.
Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes said the database was created in response to SB-54 – the California Values Act – that went into effect on Jan. 1, and specifically prohibited local law enforcement from communication with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
“This is in response to SB-54 limiting our ability to communicate with federal authorities and our concern that criminals are being released to the street when there’s another avenue to safeguard the community by handing them over [to ICE for potential deportation],” Undersheriff Barnes said.
The Orange County sheriff actively opposed the legislation when it was introduced, along with numerous other law enforcement leaders from across the state.
“SB 54 makes local law enforcement’s job more difficult and requires bureaucratic processes that could allow dangerous individuals to fall through the cracks of our justice system,” said Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens.
“My department, however, remains committed to cooperating fully with federal authorities in all areas where I have discretion to remove serious criminals from our community,” Sheriff Hutchens said.
Under the new law, police were forbidden to ask about immigration status, or to participate in immigration enforcement. Jail officials are only allowed to transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities if they have been convicted of certain crimes.
Other cities have not supported the law that has effectively made California a sanctuary state.
The Los Alamitos City Council recently approved on an ordinance that made it exempt from the California Values Act.
The Orange County Register reported that several other cities in southern California were pushing back against the state law and exploring their options.