Judicial Watch has sued Santa Clara County in California for the sanctuary policy that prevents immigration authorities from deporting immigrants who have committed crimes.
The organization filed the lawsuit on behalf of a taxpayer, Howard Myers v. Laurie Smith, Santa Clara County sheriff and Carl Neusel, citing chief of correction of Santa Clara County, according to a statement issued by the nonprofit judicial organization.
Santa Clara County’s sanctuary policy states that, for an alien to be transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, it is necessary for them to file a “judicial arrest warrant.”
According to the independent legal organization, this contradicts federal law, especially if these foreigners have committed crimes and have been arrested by local authorities.
The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction preventing local authorities from implementing the sanctuary policy and quotes the case of Bambi Larson as an example of the dire consequences of these policies.
Bambi Larson was stabbed to death at her home in San Jose on Feb. 28, allegedly by Carlos Arévalo-Carranza, a Salvadoran illegal immigrant with a long criminal record.
Between 2015 and 2019, the 24-year-old man was arrested more than a dozen times for various crimes: possession of drugs, loitering, false identification, and resistance to authority, according to the Mercury News.
At the time of the murder of Larson, 59, Arevalo-Carranza was on probation for possession of drugs, methamphetamine, deprivation of liberty, and theft.
ICE officials had officially requested Santa Clara County six times to transfer custody of the offender.
All requests were ignored.
In January, a month before Bambi Larson’s murder, a Santa Clara County judge requested that Arevalo-Carranza be closely supervised, according to the probation report.
Sanctuary policies ‘are illegal and deadly’
The Mercury News reported that San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, San Jose Police Chief Eddy Garcia, and Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith harshly criticized Santa Clara County officials in March for their policy of ignoring ICE applications.
At a press conference, Eddy Garcia complained that California’s sanctuary laws expressly prohibited law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
“Those undocumented residents who are not violent or dangerous criminals should not be afraid of the police. When we have violent or serious offenders that are preying on our community, we must have the ability to protect our residents,” Garcia added.
Garcia stressed that while the job of the police is to arrest criminals, what is done with them depends on the judicial system, so he stressed the need to discuss the sanctuary laws.
“Sanctuary policies are illegal and deadly,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“Our new taxpayer lawsuit simply seeks to stop tax dollars from being spent on a sanctuary policy that harms public safety and undermines the rule of law,” he added.
The organization has filed another lawsuit against San Francisco’s sanctuary policies that is expected to be heard in 2020.
What are sanctuary cities?
The general concept of “sanctuary city” is not homogeneous, and includes those that apply ordinances, policies, practices, or municipal regulations that prohibit public employees, including the police, from collaborating with ICE.
“How many more people have to be killed or injured for California lawmakers to open the possibility of reviewing state policies that prohibit local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with ICE to arrest foreign criminals,” ICE said in a statement quoted by Univision.
The sanctuary city regulations protect illegal immigrants from immigration and deportation officials, while allowing them to live in the United States illegally, according to Fox News.
Since the early days of Trump’s presidency, his administration has struggled with the concept of sanctuary city by considering them as safe havens for criminals and organized crime gangs like MS-13.