*Practice limited to federal immigration law. Licensed in NY, MA, but not in CA.

Orange County Sheriff to Exploit “Loophole” in California’s Sanctuary State Law

In October of 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 54 into law. This legislation is also known as the California Values Act and it is sometimes more colloquially referred to as California’s ‘sanctuary state law. SB 54 provides critically important legal protections for immigrants and their families.

Among other things, SB 54 restricts the amount of information that can be exchanged between California law enforcement agencies and federal immigration officials. As our immigration lawyer in Los Angeles has discussed before, this law has become a target of the Trump Administration. In early March, President’s Trump Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state of California.

Unfortunately, it now appears that Orange County officials are joining with the Trump Administration in an effort to fight SB 54. Earlier this month, the Republican-controlled Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to join with the Trump Administration in the lawsuits against the law. Soon after, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced a plan to exploit a loophole within SB 54.

Orange County Plans to Publish All Inmate Release Dates

On March 27th, 2018, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Orange County sheriff’s office will be publishing the release dates of all inmates held within the county. Notably under SB 54, California law enforcement agencies cannot turn over certain information to federal immigration officials unless that information is already public record. In other words, SB 54 prohibits California law enforcement officers from covertly tipping off U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that an undocumented immigrant is being held, and will be released.

To get around the California state law, Orange County simply plans to publish additional information about inmates. Currently, there is a publicly available database that can be used to determine who is in jail in Orange County. However, no release information is made available to the public. Going forward, Orange County plans to put specific release dates on all inmate profiles. This gives ICE an opportunity to locate people and move for deportation.

Information is Available Even if Charges Were Dropped, Dismissed, or Never Filed

Orange County will include public information on all inmates that have been detained. This means that release dates will be published for those who have never been charged, whose charges were dropped, or whose charges were dismissed. As Annie Lai, the co-director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic told reporters from the Washington Post, this moves gives ICE “a net all the people who pass through jails”. This is a very unfortunate decision by Orange County officials. Not only will it fail to make communities any safer, but this action will cause a tremendous amount of unnecessary stress and pain for immigrant communities.  

Get Help From a Southern California Immigration Lawyer Today

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are proud to support immigrants and their families. If you need immigration law help, please contact us (213) 262-2000 for a fully private legal consultation. Our law firm is located in the heart of Los Angeles, and we serve immigrants throughout the region, including in Orange County.

Josh Goldstein
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