After interviewing Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes about his vote to terminate Arizona contracts doing business in the city, I compared Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law and the California penal code that pertains to law enforcement and immigration. I was surprised to find out that both states require their law enforcement agencies to handle illegal aliens similarly.
At first, I wondered if Councilman Reyes or Councilman Alarcon were aware of their own penal codes. However, Mr. Reyes made a very telling remark during my interview with him when I asked about enforcement of immigration law. (emphasis is mine)
PICKET: Where exactly in the law does it say that? Considering that it prohibits that? As I’m asking here, federal law which has been around for about seventy years has been saying that undocumented individuals have to be carrying papers, so what exactly has changed between federal law of the last seventy years and Arizona’s law?
REYES: What’s changed is you have a very active effort to round up people that look a certain way, and if you have proof you are an American citizen that let you go, and if you don’t they deport you. So now, that I look like a Mexican, and I am Mexican American, I become a target.(AUDIO)
PICKET: Why is this law considered any different than what has been around for the last seventy years…because it’s being enforced?
REYES: Why does a state have to call that out? Why can’t it just follow the federal law like you said for the past seventy years? AUDIO PART 1 AUDIO PART 2
While California penal code states legally otherwise, San Francisco has been allowed to be a sanctuary city since 1989. This designation, adopted by cities across the country in the late 1980s and early 1990s has no legal definition, and the sanctuary city status could be what is at stake.
In Boulder, Colorado, the city suspended sending any employees to Arizona on business, and could take more action against the state, in a show of opposition to its wide-reaching new immigration law. Yet, Colorado immigration law says the following:
In accordance with Article 29 of Title 29, Colorado Revised Statutes, all Colorado local governments, including every town, city, city and county, and county are required to cooperate with federal officials in matters concerning the enforcement of state and federal laws regarding immigration as follows:
1) Any peace officer who has probable cause to believe that an arrestee for a criminal offense, except domestic violence, is not legally present in the United States must report the incident to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office (ICE) whenever the arrestee is NOT detained.
2) If the arrestee IS detained and the county sheriff reasonably believes that the arrestee is not legally present in the United States, then the sheriff must report the arrestee to the ICE (except arrestees for domestic violence).
3) A person who is arrested for a domestic violence offence and who is believed to be in the country illegally must be reported to ICE when he or she is convicted.
Each governing body must report to the Legislative Council of the General Assembly annually, on or before March 1 of each year, the number of reports made to ICE.
It should be noted that Colorado is the state where the an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, Francis Hernandez, was convicted in February of killing a child and two women at an ice cream shop with his Chevy Suburban. He had a long rap sheet of traffic violations and identity fraud prior the incident at the ice cream shop, but his legal status was not determined until after three Coloradans were killed.
Colorado even passed an “anti-sanctuary” law in 2006. It abolishes sanctuary city policies that ban law enforcement officers from asking suspected illegal aliens abut their residency status. However, only individuals arrested on felony charges can be asked about their legal status. Mr. Hernandez slipped through the system, because his arrests prior the day at the ice cream shop did not list any felonies.
It looks like California, Colorado, and other lawmakers across the country are angry at Arizona, because the Arizona law is popular among Americans and could force sanctuary cities to enforce laws already in their books both state wide and federally.