Law enforcement agencies seek to change South Bay sanctuary policies
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - Nearly a dozen South Bay law enforcment agencies are joining forces in an effort to change the sanctuary policy in Santa Clara County.
The controversy was reignited a few weeks ago after an undocumented immigrant was arrested in connection with the brutal killing of Bambi Larsen inside her San Jose home. Larsen's murder last month left a community seeking answers as to how an undocumented immigrant with a violent criminal past was released from jail and was able to evade deportation.
24-year-old Carlos Arevalo Carranza has been arrested at least six times; charged with burglary, battery, possession of meth and false imprisonment.
San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia says if the county's sanctuary policy were aligned with the state of California's policy, Carranza would likely have been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement instead of being on our streets.
"He was arrested multiple times, not only here, but in Los Angeles County. The legal system is what it is and he was ultimately released, but there were detainers that were placed that were not honored when ICE contactedthe places where he was being held in custody," said Chief Garcia.
San Jose Police Department joins 10 other law enforcement agencies in signing a letter sent to the Santa Clara County board of supervisors recommending changes to its sanctuary policy.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen agreed that the county should adopt a policy consistent with state law that would allow county jails to notify federal immigration authorities upon the release of serious felons.
But immigration attorney Ronald Cabanayan said these potential changes target the undocumented community.
"It appears to me to be a knee-jerk reaction which sets a dangerous precednent," Cabanayan said.
Law enforcement argues that Santa Clara County is behind other counties like alameda and San Mateo because they prohibit any communication with ICE, even for violent offenders.
"No one is asking for the county to hold onto an idividual a minute longer. All that we're asking for is notification or facilitation where a warrant is not needed for that," Garcia said.
The board of supervisors is scheduled to discuss the issue on April 9. They have also asked law enforcement and the D.A.'s office to outline a plan for the policy change.