Los Angeles

Santa Clara Police Chiefs Ask Supervisors to Modify Immigration Policy

The sanctuary county debate in Santa Clara continued Tuesday.

Santa Clara County Police Chiefs Association wrote a joint letter to the county board of supervisors last week, asking to modify the sanctuary county status after a woman was murdered in San Jose by an undocumented immigrant with criminal records.

The March 21 letter, signed by 11 police chiefs, including San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia, who has previously asked the county's santurary policy to be revisited, addressed the Board of Supervisors and President Joe Simitian to revise the policy so that it's consistent with the California Values Act.

"Contrary to other immigrant-focused initiatives that our agencies have supported, the existing policy that allows predatory criminals to evade lawful deportation requests makes everyone less safe," the letter read. "The County's policy, which predates California's law allowing the safe transfer of individuals deemed to be a threat to public safety to federal immigration officials, undermines the safety of the communities we collectively seek to protect, to include law abiding immigrants."

The man who sparked the conversation, Carlos Eduardo Arevalo Carranza, was arrested earlier this month after a 12-day manhunt. He’s accused of killing Bambi Larson in what investigators described as one of the most gruesome and disturbing murders in recent memory.

Carranza is an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said cities and counties ignored its requests to detain him for deportation after having prior arrests.

"If I have to oppose policies that hinder my ability to keep my city safe, then that’s something I have to do," Garcia previously said.

Since 2010, Santa Clara has barred its employees from using county resources to communicate with ICE regarding any information collected in the course of providing critical services or benefits.

The policy predates the CA Values Act (SB54), which was signed into law on Oct. 5, 2017 and went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, the police chiefs argued.

The letter asked that the Santa Clara Sheriff's Office be allowed to "honor ICE Notification Requests for inmate outdates as allowable under [CA Values Act.]"

Erik Bonnar, an acting field office director for ICE, said Carranza has been arrested numerous times for criminal activity and convicted of more than 10 crimes in the past three years, including kidnapping, drug possession, battery on a police officer, trespassing and burglary, which would have made him eligible for transfer to ICE under SB54, according to law enforcement.

Carranza was diagnosed with psychosis back in 2016, according to a source.

Read the police chiefs' full letter below:

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