SJ Police Union Blasts County's Unchanged Sanctuary Policy - NBC Bay Area
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SJ Police Union Blasts County's Unchanged Sanctuary Policy

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    SJ Police Union Blasts County's Unchanged Sanctuary Policy

    The threats and explanations have been flying since Santa Clara County leaders decided not to make any changes to the county's sanctuary policy. Robert Handa reports. (Published Wednesday, June 5, 2019)

    The threats and explanations have been flying since Santa Clara County leaders decided not to make any changes to the county's sanctuary policy.

    And while no one knows exactly what action might be taken, the fight will continue, according to the policy's opponents, including the San Jose Police Officers Association.

    The murder of Bambi Larsen inside her San Jose home in February and the subsequent arrest of an undocumented immigrant with a long criminal past hovers over the county’s sanctuary policy.

    County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously voted not to change the policy, including essentially refusing to contact federal immigration officials about the pending release of a repeat violent criminal offender.

    The San Jose police union called the move "dangerous" and "irresponsible" and vowed to keep fighting it.

    "We’re asking that if the federal government asks for notification of a violent offender, pick up the phone and call them, and say 'Listen, he’s gonna be released within 48 hours,'" POA President Paul Kelly said.

    County Supervisor Dave Cortese said the principle at stake is not about one crime and that ICE easily could do what it wants the county to do for them.

    "It’s a guessing game at best as to who’s undocumented or not," Cortese said. "And that’s what makes it difficult to pick up the phone and call."

    The head of an immigrant advocacy group Amigos de Guadalupe says in her opinion, the community is more worried about ICE than it is about undocumented criminals.

    "We have a long history where this agency cannot be trusted," Maritza Maldonado said. "And to say 'pick up the phone?' We don’t know what will happen to people."

    The San Jose POA declined to discuss what future options are being considered.

    Police chief Eddie Garcia says he has met with the Major Cities Chiefs Association and that he will be part of a group meeting with the Department of Homeland Security to discuss the situation.

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