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Government & Politics

Sanctuary Cities Draw Scrutiny In California

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The alleged murder of a San Francisco woman by an undocumented immigrant with a criminal history has revived a debate in the state Capitol over "sanctuary cities." Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.    

San Francisco is one of several California sanctuary cities which generally have a policy of not informing federal authorities about undocumented immigrants in their areas. The suspect had been in San Francisco custody in April, but was released.

Republican State Senator Jeff Stone says sanctuary cities are usurping federal law. He’s proposing a bill that would tighten restrictions on local law enforcement.

Stone: “Any local police department or county sheriff detain an illegal immigrant that has a felonious background and give 48 hours notice to ICE or any other federal agency that this potentially dangerous person is going to be released.”

Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu represents the area where the crime occurred. He says Stone’s bill is redundant. 

Chiu: “I think it’s important to note that both state and local laws say that if you’ve committed violent felonies, regardless of your immigration status, the law will be fully enforced.”

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown asking whether state law was followed in this case, and if so, whether it needs to be strengthened.

Brown’s spokesman Even Westrup said, “Under the facts as reported, California law vests authority for cases of this kind within the sound discretion of local authority."

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