Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) issued the following statement today after the California State Senate approved Senate Bill 54 (de León). SB 54 would restrict local law enforcement’s ability to interact with federal authorities responsible for immigration enforcement.
“I am in agreement that state and local law enforcement should not be doing the jobs of federal immigration agents. However, even with the latest amendments, SB 54 would severely restrict the ability of California’s public safety agencies to interact with the federal government to protect the public. SB 54 is not needed. It would lead to dangerous individuals falling through the cracks and being let out on the streets when they should have been deported instead.
“Local sheriffs such as Orange County’s Sandra Hutchens have made the compelling case that SB 54 would have a major impact on county budgets. At least four counties, including Orange, have lease agreements with the federal government for jail bed space. Orange County alone would lose $22 million in the first year if SB 54 becomes law. These counties may have little choice but to lay off sheriff’s deputies, which would endanger citizens and immigrants alike.”
SB 54 will head next to the State Assembly for its consideration. A letter from Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens to Bates that explains her opposition to SB 54 can be read here.