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Panel demand is about politics, not justice

Posted on February 10, 2017 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The Citizen’s Advisory Committee action demanding that the Sheriff stop cooperating with federal immigration agents is absurd. He must obey the law when the feds have probable cause or a warrant of arrest. That is the law. And the U.S . Supreme Court stated that is the law enforcement standard for constitutional conduct by law enforcement.

The CAC is chasing a political agenda and not doing the work to improve relations with the Sheriff’s office.

The CAC claims it wants justice.  Justice is for everyone including the Sherriff and Law Enforcement in general who are required to insure that everyone obeys the law.

The CAC expects law enforcement to respect and follow the law and at the same time the CAC wants the Sheriff to ignore the laws the CAC does not agree with.  This is hypocritical and shows the true goals of the CAC to be a liberal drum beater, not a real advisory group.

The majority of the public does not want law enforcement to let known criminals released if customs has warrants or probable cause.

No law enforcement officer or department in this county enforces immigration laws based on immigration status or ethnicity.  Law enforcement is so busy with other issues.

Joe Romano, JD, Retired Deputy Sheriff and former CAC board member


2 thoughts on “Panel demand is about politics, not justice

  1. Mr. Romano,
    It’s obvious then, that what we need is a clear statement from all county parties, that what the public wants is effective management of undocumented violent felons, and also not have the Sheriff’s office deputized by ICE, to enforce “the law”, that now says the undocumented can be deported because their kid got free school lunches and many other “crimes” that have been trumped up to meet a political campaign pledge to deport 8 million people.

    It is reasonable for this situation to get finessed to filter out violent felons. And that all other law enforcement by ICE simply be done by ICE alone. I hope all parties can keep their heads screwed on straight as the public, and their IOLERO representatives, and the Sheriff’s Office, address some serious current issues. Let’s do this dance with some grace.

    You point out the salient tension here. This whole situation is political, even from the Sheriff. The Sheriff’s Office can’t pick the law they want or not either, and State Law trumps fed for the Sheriff, and California is the top liberal state. Look at the Supreme Court, our nation’s justice system has become political to the core. This is not about justice; this is a power struggle of values and morals.

    The current immigration executive order, i.e. the law, has been crafted in accord with right wing xenophobic politics. No one would expect liberals to just obey. This invokes Nixon’s focus on “law and order”, which was code for racial prejudice and push back against the civil rights movement. This “law and order” has led to the incredible incarceration of blacks for chump change offenses. This kind of current political manipulation of law is going to be resisted.

    I’m glad the IOLERO CAC is standing up to be counted, and representing liberal, California values. It remains to be seen if the Sheriff will come clean about the inherent politics involved here, and not try to stay amoral, and hew to a “we’re following orders” perspective, when the new immigration executive order law is entirely shot through with politics from the core.

  2. I appreciate my friend, Joe Romano, sharing his perspective on the recommendation of the IOLERO Community Advisory Council on immigration policies of the Sheriff’s Office. I strongly believe that there is room for debate on this issue if we approach it with good will and with respect for the facts.
    The members of the CAC carefully reviewed the Sheriff’s policies and practices around immigration, gathering information and discussing these policies at length with the Sheriff’s representatives over the course of three public meetings. From that discussion, it became very clear that the jail voluntarily complies with requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for notification of release dates for immigrant inmates, and for access to an inmate’s jail file, without regard to the criminal charge or conviction of the inmate. These ICE requests are not supported by probable cause or a warrant, and the cooperation of the jail is entirely voluntary under federal law and the U.S. Constitution.
    The CAC also heard from scores of immigrants, and those who provide services to them, that such voluntary cooperation increases undocumented immigrants’ fear of deportation, and makes them very unlikely to cooperate with law enforcement investigations. The CAC concluded from this that the current policy of voluntary cooperation with ICE by the Sheriff’s Office hampers that agency’s ability to investigate crimes that affect the immigrant community or in which an immigrant is a key witness.
    The CAC also heard from the Sheriff’s Office that the current policy of voluntary cooperation is based on a public safety rationale. This rationale was explained as a desire to remove from Sonoma County those undocumented immigrant offenders who are a threat to the safety of other community members.
    Taking all of this into consideration, the CAC recommended that the Sheriff consider limiting the voluntary cooperation of the Sheriff’s Office with ICE to those instances where an inmate has been convicted of a serious and violent felony.
    The CAC’s recommendation was neither a political demand nor an effort to reflect liberal values. It was respectful recommendation intended to reflect community values, while also serving the mission of effective policing by law enforcement.

    Jerry Threet, Director
    Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach

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