Immgration law may not be enforced by some law enforcement in Bakersfield

Published 01/03 2014 06:11PM

Updated 01/03 2014 08:10PM

BAKERSFIELD, CA- Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that had immigration advocates celebrating the milestone. But, local law enforcement says not so fast.

"It's inappropriate for any governor to establish a law that violates a federal law. That doesn't make sense," said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood.

Under the new California law, known as the Trust Act, illegal immigrants must be charged or convicted of a serious offense to be eligible for a 48-hour hold and possible deportation.

Sheriff Youngblood says he won't be enforcing it. "As of right now, we are going to continue holding people for the 48 hours. We will be in contact with ICE."

But, a local immigration lawyer says officers can't pick and choose which laws to enforce.

"You cannot go out and just decide which laws of the state of California he's going to enforce or not enforce. This is not a discretionary suggestion," said immigration law specialist Win Eaton. 

"But, federal law in the constitution in the United States triumphs any state law," said Sheriff Youngblood.

The new law also limits the state's cooperation with Secure Communities. That federal program allows the Department of Homeland Security to access fingerprints taken by local police to screen those detained for immigration status.

In fiscal year 2013, ICE deported more than 130,000 illegal immigrants in the U.S. Of those, 82 percent were previously convicted of a crime.  Secure Communities was created to deport dangerous criminals, but one California assemblyman says the vast majority who were taken in were for minor offenses like loitering.

Eaton says authorities ignoring the law might get the county sued.

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