By NWV Senior Political News Writer, Jim Kouri

A highly successful watchdog group of attorneys and investigators announced this past week that they have filed a lawsuit on behalf of the County of Santa Clara, California, taxpayers seeking to overturn the county’s policy that protects criminal aliens being released from jail from being detained for removal by the Homeland Security Department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

This particular taxpayer lawsuit was filed by Judicial Watch on behalf of plaintiff Mr. Howard Myers. It was filed in the county’s civil court against Sheriff Laurie Smith, of Santa Clara County, and the acting chief of correction  (Howard A. Myers v. Laurie Smith et al.)

Santa Clara County Board Policy 3.54(B) requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to obtain a “judicial arrest warrant” in order for the county to transfer custody of an alien. Federal law however does not require “judicial arrest warrants” for federal authorities to detain aliens, especially for those who had been incarcerated or arrested by local authorities.

The Santa Clara County Department of Correction is the fifth largest jail system in California, and among the 20 largest systems in the United States.  Our jail is among the 100 systems nationwide with an inmate population of more than 1,000.  In 2015, our County housed and cared for an average of 3,638 inmates a day.  They serve nearly five million meals each year while providing medical and mental health care for an inmate population that rarely has any contact with the health care system.

The Judicial Watch attorneys are requesting the judge to grant an injunction against the sanctuary policy because:

  • It is an “illegal local regulation of immigration;”
  • It is “preempted by federal law;” and
  • It is “barred by the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity,” which prevents a state from intruding on the federal government’s sovereignty.

On February 28, 2019, Bambi Larson, a Santa Clara resident, was murdered inside her San Jose home. The city of San Jose is part of Santa Clara County.

According to documents obtained from Judicial Watch by the 13,000-member National Association of Chiefs of Police, Ms. Larson suffered extensive and deep wounds consistent with a cutting tool. The police officers answering the call for assistance described the murder as being “brutal and gory.”

Carlos Arevalo-Carranza was eventually arrested and charged with Larson’s murder. Arevalo-Carranza reportedly had multiple, prior convictions in Santa Clara County, including a conviction for: burglary in 2015, battery of an officer, resisting arrest, and entering a property in 2016, and a conviction for false imprisonment in 2017.

The illegal alien also had multiple arrests in the past in both Santa Clara County and Los Angeles County, including arrests for possession of drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine, prowling, and false identification. At the time of Larson’s death, Arevalo-Carranza reportedly was on probation for possession of drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine, false imprisonment, and burglary, according to Judicial Watch’s Director of Public Affairs, Jill Farrell.

ICE officials sent not one but six separate “detainer” requests to Santa Clara County, when Arevalo-Carranza was about to be released from its custody, asking that he be detained long enough for federal immigration officials to take him into custody for removal proceedings. Each one of the requests was ignored because of Santa Clara County’s sanctuary policies.

In March 2019, San Jose officials reportedly “criticized so-called sanctuary policies they say prevented federal authorities from detaining a gang member in the country illegally before he allegedly killed a woman.” The murderer was a, “self-admitted gang member,” with a “long criminal history in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles spanning five years,” according to a press statement from Judicial Watch.

“Sanctuary policies are illegal and deadly,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

“Judicial Watch has been a leader (and often the only) legal opponent to sanctuary policies that ignore federal and state laws concerning immigration at the expense of the public’s safety, the rule of law, and our national security. Our new taxpayer lawsuit simply seeks to stop tax dollars from being spent on a sanctuary policy that harms public safety and undermines the rule of law,” said Fitton, who regularly appears on TV and radio news shows on networks such as Fox News Channel (FNC), One America News Network (OANN), NewsmaxTV, and others.

Fitton also noted that Judicial Watch is pursuing another taxpayer lawsuit against San Francisco’s illegal immigrant sanctuary policies. That case is scheduled to go to trial in 2020.

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