San Diego politicians unify in opposition over SB-54
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A number of local mayors and elected officials are standing against Senate Bill 54, a bill that would stop local law enforcement from helping federal authorities enforce immigration laws.
These mayors say the bill threatens public safety. It’s not about undocumented immigrants or deporting them. It’s about keeping violent offenders out of their communities.
They’re calling themselves the "Mayors for Safe Cities," nine elected officials coming from as far east as El Cajon to as far north as San Marcos, with one goal: Apply pressure to Gov. Jerry Brown to not sign Senate Bill 54 into law.
Right now, if an undocumented immigrant commits a felony, local law enforcement will report that to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE can then monitor that person and the offender could be deported.
SB-54 would prohibit local cities, like Poway and Escondido, from telling ICE anything, meaning violent, undocumented offenders could serve their sentence and be re-released into San Diego County.
Mayors like Sam Abed said not only would this law threaten public safety by allowing dangerous criminals, such as MS 13 gang members, back into the community, but San Diego could lose a chunk of its public safety budget.
Here’s why. When local law enforcement report these immigrants to the federal government, California gets paid, ranging from $100 million to $1 billion a year.
But the state won’t be paid for a job its authorities aren’t allowed to do under SB-54.
Those who support SB-54 argue these mayors aren’t concerned about public safety, they just want to deport undocumented immigrants.
Elected officials in other California cities are also joining in opposition to SB-54. The vote could come as soon as Friday and with a Democrat-run legislature, the bill is expected to pass.
Senator Joel Anderson held a press conference Wednesday claiming SB-54 negatively impacts public safety.
"If SB 54 become law, California will lose over $100 million in federal funding that helps to pay for local police to protect our neighborhoods, and will force ICE to perform regular community sweeps to find convicted child molesters and rapists who are eligible for deportation," Senator Anderson said.
Senator Anderson has started a petition online, asking people to sign if they don’t think California should become a sanctuary state for illegal aliens convicted of serious felonies.