Rep. Jim Patterson (California State Assembly website)
A California MP is calling for a change to the State Sanctuary Act, which bans local law enforcement from working with federal immigration officials after police said a man who had been deported twice in the United States illegally attacked one go on a day-long frenzy of crime, the a murder.
Rep. Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, believes Senate Bill 54 – known as the California Values Act – needs to be corrected to allow local law enforcement to recognize detention requests from Federal Immigration and Customs Control (ICE) employees reported FOX 26 in Fresno.
“When those who say [Bill] 54 makes lodging for it, they really don’t say it for what it is, ”Patterson, a former Fresno mayor, told the station. “It’s contradicting, confusing, and essentially saying that you can’t talk to ICE about these crimes.”
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Patterson’s comments come after Visalia, 36-year-old Gustavo Garcia allegedly went through a one-day “reign of terror” on Monday before dying in police pursuit.
Mike Boudreaux, sheriff in Tulare County, said Garcia was in police custody days before the rampage and would have turned over ICE agents if it hadn’t been for California’s protected areas law.
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“We are very frustrated with the way the laws are currently being drawn up is in the hands of law enforcement,” Boudreaux said on Wednesday.
Authorities said Garcia’s crime frenzy included robbing a grocery store, shooting several people, including killing one person, and shooting at buildings before a truck he stole crashed.
Senate Bill 54 was passed by state Democrats in a party line last September. It was designed on the premise that undocumented immigrants would feel safer going to the police to report crimes and assist in investigations if they did not fear the risk of incarceration.
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Patterson wants the bill’s language to be rewritten with the help of Democrats who control state law.
“This could be fixed, but it has to be a will and I don’t know if the ruling party has that will,” he said. “What billing language does is simply closing the communication gap so sheriffs can ask ICE the kind of questions that need to be answered.”
Although some law enforcement officers are in favor of working with ICE, some are not on board.
Alex Villanueva, head of the country’s largest sheriff’s division in Los Angeles County, told district officials Tuesday that the presence of immigration officers had been removed from the district prisons and that there were plans to limit the crimes that are causing prison authorities to collaborate with ICE .
“We will physically remove ICE from the district prisons,” Villanueva told the district regulator.