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OC Sheriff shares perspective on her opposition to the state sanctuary bill

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens addresses reporters about the arrest of two escaped fugitives on Saturday, January 30, 2016.
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens addresses reporters about the arrest of two escaped fugitives on Saturday, January 30, 2016.

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Here in California, it's been the policy of a number of law enforcement agencies NOT to cooperate with immigration officials.

The argument is that if they police participate in immigration enforcement, people won't come forward as witnesses, or report crimes.

Now there's a move to codify that position - a bill that would create a so-called sanctuary throughout the state.

But one key law enforcement official has her doubts. 

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens sent a letter earlier this month to State Senator Pat Bates, urging her to vote against the proposed state sanctuary bill, known as SB 54.

Hutchens argues the bill would put local law enforcement at odds with the federal government, and that might put undocumented immigrants and the general public in danger.

With many high profile names like LA Mayor Eric Garcetti in support of sanctuary laws, Hutchens' approach is notably different, and we spoke with her yesterday to explain her perspective on the bill.

Here are some interview highlights:

On her objections to the bill:

Today, when we have inmates in our custody and they meet the requirements of the TRUST Act, meaning they have committed a serious offense, we are able to notify ICE upon their pending release. And ICE is able to come to our jail and take those individuals into custody for deportation proceedings. Under this bill, those individuals would be released to the street, and ICE would continue to go look for them. Only now, they'd be out looking for them in our communities, which would require potential arrests, and or search warrants, and creates havoc and dangerous situations.

On law enforcement's role in the community:

We have been out in our communities to get the word out that you are not going to be asked your immigration status by local law enforcement. We want to hear from you if you are a victim or witness to a crime. If you need law enforcement for any reason, we are not engaged in immigration enforcement. 

On trust with the community:

If [our position] is explained, it's very clear. Nothing's changed from the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration. So when you explain that we're not gonna go out looking for people who are working, trying to make a living and make a better life. We're not looking for people who have committed misdemeanor crimes or nonviolent offenses. We're not interested in giving those names, and legally, we can't.

Click the blue player above to hear the full interview.