Police Officers Outraged After County Votes to Uphold Sanctuary Policy

Ilene Eng
By Ilene Eng
June 10, 2019US News

SAN JOSE—In light of the murder of the murder of Bambi Larson, a San Jose mother of two who was brutally stabbed to death in her home by an illegal immigrant with a long criminal record, a county in California proposed in April to make changes to the current sanctuary policies. But 56 days later, the board of supervisors ultimately decided to uphold the sanctuary policy—upsetting local police officers.

On June 4, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted against a policy that would allow law enforcement to notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials when an illegal immigrant in custody will be released from a county jail.

“We’re outraged and frustrated,” President of the San Jose Police Officers Association Paul Kelly said at a news conference addressing the results the following day.

“Yesterday the County Board of Supervisors had an opportunity to protect its residents and police officers by simply agreeing to notify ICE when the confirmed, violent, repeat offender, in custody at our country jails are going to be released.”

Kelly said that his officers will continue to protect residents from criminal offenders, regardless of their immigration status. But said the policy makes it harder for the police to do just that.

“We cannot protect our residents and keep our officers safe if violent repeat offenders are continuously let back into our community,” said Kelly. “Our officers are being attacked, and our communities are being preyed upon. We cannot, cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that some of our repeat offenders are undocumented immigrants.”

The idea was proposed in April during a nearly 8-hour-long citywide meeting after Bambi Larson, a San Jose mother of two, was stabbed to death in her home in February by an illegal immigrant from El Salvador with an extensive criminal record.

Carlos Arevalo Carranza has been convicted of 10 crimes in three years before he murdered Larson, an ICE agent reported, according to NBC News. But because ICE’s retainer requests were not honored by Santa Clara and Los Angeles Counties, where Carranza had committed his crimes, ICE agents were not able deport him after nine attempts and the 24-year-old was released back into the community.

Kelly said that the solution is simple.

“We’re asking if the Federal Government ask for a notification of a violent offender pick up the phone and call them, and say, ‘listen, he’s going to be released within 48 hours.’ It’s truly that simple.”

Local police officers said they have been working hard and put their lives on the line and now, they have an additional obstacle. He brought up Officer Ronil Singh who was murdered by an illegal immigrant in Newman, California last December.

“Many officers, including Newman police officer Singh, paid the ultimate sacrifice when he was gunned down by an individual that should not have been here in our country—a repeat violent offender.”

“We have not given up on this issue,” said Kelly. “The SJPOA will continue to push to ensure the county and all sides do the right thing. Which is protect as many people as possible from violent offenders.”

Similar Case

In a similar case in Maryland, two illegal immigrants who were released went on to murder a 14-year-old girl.

Josue Rafael Fuentes-Ponce and Joel Ernesto Escobar, both nationals of El Salvador and believed to both be members of the notorious MS-13 gang, were arrested on May 11, 2018, for attempted first-degree murder, participation in gang activity, and other related charges.

However, the men were released by Prince George’s County Detention Center despite a detainer lodged by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The men were arrested again on May 16 and charged with first-degree murder.

ICE said that the release directly led to the recent murder of the girl.

“As law enforcement officers, we must continue to serve and protect the American public and act in the interest of public safety first,” said Baltimore Field Office Director Diane Witte in a statement.

“These individuals had demonstrated violent criminal behavior before, and because they were released in spite of the lawful detainer, they were afforded an opportunity to take a life.”

Prince George’s officials responded to mounting criticism in a press conference on Wednesday, claiming that “a detainer is not a warrant.”

NTD staff writer Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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