Los Angeles County Sheriff James McDonnell on Saturday applauded the “sanctuary state” bill just passed by the Legislature that aims to protect immigrants from federal enforcement as they leave jails, saying amendments had satisfied his earlier objections to the legislation.
“While not perfect, [the bill] kept intact our ability to maintain partnerships with federal law enforcement officials who help us in the fight against gangs, drugs and human trafficking,” McDonnell said in a written statement. “It also retains the controlled access that the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has to our jails.”
McDonnell had broken ranks with many other Los Angeles elected officials by opposing the initial legislation, arguing that if immigration agents could not pick up people from the jails, they would go looking for them in the streets. McDonnell said that would spread fear and curtail immigrants’ cooperation with local law enforcement in criminal cases.
The legislation passed early Saturday drastically scaled back the version first introduced, the result of tough negotiations between Gov. Jerry Brown and the bill’s author, Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), in the final weeks of the legislative session. The bill must still be signed by the governor.
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