Kern County sheriff reacts to the revised 'sanctuary state' bill

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood has been a vocal opponent of SB 54, known as the sanctuary state bill. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

After several weeks of negotiations, California state legislators have agreed to move forward with Senate Bill 54, otherwise known as the "sanctuary state" bill.

The first draft of the bill prohibited state and local police from using their resources to help detain undocumented people for federal immigration agents. The bill essentially established a wall between local and federal immigration agents and banned them from working together. The bill states that local police agencies are prohibited from using resources, money or personnel to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest people for immigration enforcement purposes.

On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown and state Senate Leader Kevin De Leon struck a deal to make changes to the bill.

Under the amended bill, local law enforcement officers will be able to share information about inmates to Immigration and Customs Enforcement but only for felons convicted of one of nearly 800 listed crimes. Most of the included crimes are violent felonies.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood has been a vocal opponent of the bill since its inception, and he is still not on board despite the amendments.

"It's still a bad bill," said Youngblood on Tuesday. "I'm still opposed to it, because anytime you limit law enforcement's ability to talk to another law enforcement agency about a topic, I think is counterproductive to public safety."

Youngblood said although he is against the bill, the new form is palatable.

"The governor actually stepped up and listened to what the sheriffs had to say," Youngblood said. "I think (Brown) guided this to where we at least can accept it and follow the law, whereas before it was really going to be a detriment to public safety. I'm still opposed, but this is so much better than it would have been last week."

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