SAN JOSE (KRON) — Santa Clara County is one of several jurisdictions around the country that have refused to fully cooperate with immigration authorities in the name of protecting undocumented residents who are not considered a threat to the community.
But the case of San Jose’s Bambi Larson is different and that has re-opened the debate over whether the county ought to re-think that policy.
Carlos Eduardo Arevalo Carranza, an undocumented immigrant with a long criminal history, was arrested in connection with the brutal murder of 59-year-old Larson of San Jose.
Police on Tuesday revealed that Carranza had previously been locked up and released from the Santa Clara County Jail twice in recent months.
Before he allegedly stalked and stabbed Larson to death late last month, Carranza had been ordered detained by ICE nine times in an effort to stop him from offending again.
But those requests were thwarted by local sanctuary policies mean to protect undocumented immigrants who are not considered a threat to the public.
Echoing previous criticism of the policy, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo in a statement said:
“Law enforcement leaders in our region, including Santa County Sheriff Laurie Smith, District Attorney Jeff Rosen, and San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia, have urged the County to pick up the phone and notify federal authorities when a violent or predatory felon is about to be released into our community from the jail. I fully support that position. This common-sense approach has never been deemed unconstitutional by any court, nor does it require that the County detain anyone a minute longer than the Constitution allows. We can best protect our law-abiding immigrant communities—and the rest of our city—by cooperating with other agencies to prevent predatory felons from threatening the safety of our community.”
The mayor called for restarting the conversation on the policy.
Sheriff Laurie Smith said, “It has been my long standing position that we should notify ICE of all undocumented immigrants who are serious or violent felons. I will advocate for changing the policy.”
Also in a statement, County Supervisor Dave Corteze reminded critics of the policy that the courts have thus far ruled that the county cannot hold immigrant suspects for ice without a warrant or judicial order unless the individual is currently charged with a crime.
Corteze insisted that ICE is indeed notified of custody releases in real time but that ICE often shows up too late to take action. County Council James Williams clarified the policy.
“There has been a lot of confusion about the law and about what the county can and cannot do. Federal courts for many years all across the country have ruled that holding people beyond their release time violates the 4th amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the only way we can legally hold people is if we have a warrant,” Williams said.
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