Tag Archives: Sacramento

Sacramento neighborhood cops may be allowed to arrest undocumented immigrants

illegalHeadline should read “arrest illegal aliens.” Other than that, this works for me.

From Sacramento Bee: If you’re an undocumented immigrant illegal alien in the city of Sacramento, the local police are under orders not to inquire about your citizenship. The same goes in the unincorporated areas of Sacramento County patrolled by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.

Venture outside the region’s main urban centers, however, and police may be operating under different guidelines.

At least six law enforcement agencies in the Sacramento area operate under written policies allowing their officers to detain people suspected of entering the United States illegally, according to policy manuals obtained by The Bee.

For people arrested for certain drug offenses who “may not be a citizen of the United States,” the policies read, officers “shall notify” federal immigration agents if the suspect is not booked into county jail. Officers in the six jurisdictions, which include Folsom and unincorporated Yuba and Yolo counties, can also inform federal immigration agents of the immigration and citizenship status of anyone they encounter.

Some local departments with tough immigration policies on their books are now revising their guidelines as the Trump administration ramps up enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws and immigrant communities grow increasingly wary of law enforcement. Others insist they do not engage in any level of immigration enforcement, despite what their written policies permit.

The policy manuals in all six jurisdictions were written by Lexipol, an Irvine-based private firm that comes up with policies for most of California’s small and mid-size law enforcement agencies. In addition to immigration, Lexipol policies cover a wide range of topics, including departments’ use of force guidelines and advice on how officers should conduct themselves when off-duty.

Immigration enforcement is permitted by the Yolo and Yuba county sheriff’s departments, and the police departments in Galt, Citrus Heights, Folsom and Lincoln. Several local law enforcement agencies did not respond to Bee requests to see their policies. By contrast, Sacramento has repeatedly declared itself a so-called sanctuary city that does not cooperate with federal immigration authorities, a stance that has put the city at odds with the Trump administration.

Lexipol program director Kevin Piper said the policies are based on federal and state laws, as well as “best practices nationwide that have proven successful for law enforcement.” The final wording of an agency’s immigration policy is “completely a local jurisdiction decision,” he said. “We give them a policy that is adaptable whether they are a sanctuary city or completely the opposite,” he said. “We constantly tell our clients that one of the reasons they may want to customize is that their community may want something different.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has begun tracking which California law enforcement agencies use Lexipol immigration policies. Julia Harumi Mass, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU, said policies that allow even limited cooperation between local agencies and the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency “can still send the wrong message to the local community.”

“The Sacramento Police Department and other California police departments understand the harm that comes when local police and sheriffs engage in immigration enforcement,” she said.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Sacramento may start paying for legal defense of illegal aliens

darrell steinberg

Mayor Steinberg: Robbing legal taxpayers to benefit illegal aliens

Just following in the footsteps of their fellow proggies in liberal King County. Suck it, taxpayers!

From Sacramento Bee: Sacramento leaders are poised to spend up to $300,000 to boost the city’s status as a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, even as the federal government threatens to crack down on jurisdictions providing such immigrant protections.

The City Council will vote Thursday on a proposal to invest in an education and legal defense network for undocumented immigrants illegal aliens, with the money coming out of a general fund that supports most core city services. The plan under consideration would also strengthen Sacramento’s status as a sanctuary city by turning into law privacy policies that prohibit city employees – including police – from making inquiries into immigration status.

“It is a modest investment, but it is a very important investment,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “It says very clearly to our community, especially those who are affected by these unconstitutional orders, that ‘we are going to stand with you.’ We have to back up our values with real action to help people who feel at risk and who may be actually at risk.”

Both the sanctuary city ordinance and legal defense fund were proposed by a Safe Haven Task Force formed at City Hall in February. The task force was put in place in response to executive orders by President Donald Trump calling for increased enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Councilman Eric Guerra, who headed the task force, said turning the city’s sanctuary stance from policy into law would put “more teeth” in its position and “makes it relevant to the context we see today, the scapegoating of immigrants.”

About 49,000 Sacramento residents are not citizens, including roughly 4,100 children, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s about 10 percent of the city’s residents. Some of them are here legally, some are not – the census bureau does not ask about legal status.

The new money would help fund what is being called the Sacramento Family Unity, Educations and Legal Network for Immigrants, or FUEL, a collection of local immigration attorneys, nonprofits and law schools specializing in immigration law.

The group will hire up to two attorneys to provide legal assistance to an estimated 750 families each year and conduct “Know Your Rights” information sessions in schools, churches and other community gathering places for hundreds more. The network will likely seek grants from other nonprofit agencies to expand its financial capacity.

Attorneys will be tasked with representing immigrants facing deportation and helping undocumented parents “prepare for the worst” by creating guardianships for children and protections for homes and other assets should they be deported, said Guerra.

Guerra said Sacramento hasn’t yet seen federal immigration raids, but “the fear is intense” in immigrant communities and “what we don’t want is families to be separated because that leads to bigger social issues.”

Blake Nordahl, a supervising attorney in the immigration clinic at the McGeorge School of Law, said the network will expand the local roster of attorneys trained in immigration law by working with lawyers whose expertise is in other fields.

“We have a large immigrant population in Sacramento, so hopefully this is just the beginning of being able to work together,” said Nordahl, whose clinic is part of the city-funded network. “I think there’s a real commitment to showing respect to our neighbors and recognizing that Sacramento is based on a city of immigrants and we’re going to take care of our neighbors.”

Sacramento’s vote would follow other California governments that have spent public money to aid undocumented immigrants.

Santa Clara County in January voted to spend $1.5 million over two years to help defend undocumented immigrants illegal aliens facing deportation. San Francisco recently set aside $200,000 for legal aid, and Oakland has allocated $300,000 for a similar effort. A similar public-private fund that could hold up to $10 million has also been proposed for Los Angeles city and county.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Sacramento lawsuit charges that lack of court hearings for undocumented immigrants violates Constitution

I might be illegal

From Sacramento Bee: For a year and a half, Jose Garcia-Alcazar has been sitting in jails in Richmond and Elk Grove while his lawyers fight the government’s efforts to deport him to his native Mexico. For more than six months now, Garcia-Alcazar, who has three children who are U.S. citizens, has not had a hearing to determine whether he is eligible for bail while the immigration courts figure out what to do with him.

Lawyers for the former car-wash employee in Rohnert Park call his extended stay in jail a case of indefinite detention. They also call it unconstitutional, and they say it stands in direct defiance of a 2011 appellate court ruling that guarantees incarcerated aliens a bail hearing – even if they have criminal records and made their way back to the United States after having already been deported. Garcia-Alcazar, 30, has drug convictions and once associated in Mexico with “coyotes” who smuggled people into the United States, one of his lawyers said.

Earlier this month, Garcia-Alcazar’s attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court in Sacramento seeking class-action status to try to reinstate bail hearings for him and an untold number of other undocumented immigrants illegal aliens. In the lawsuit, the lawyers are challenging a memorandum issued by an immigration judge in San Francisco that says people like Garcia-Alcazar who return to the U.S. after being deported are not entitled to “redetermination” hearings that would give them a chance to make their case for bail.

While an immigration judge’s decisions are usually confined to his or her own courtroom, lawyers for Garcia-Alcazar say the one made by Anthony S. Murry on Dec. 12 has been reduced to an eight-page memo that is now being widely distributed. The plaintiff’s attorneys noted that the memo came out and that bail hearings began to be curtailed just a month after President Donald Trump was elected on a campaign that promised to build a wall across the southern border of the United States and cut off illegal immigration from Mexico.

“It is kind of weird that it started happening toward the end of the year,” said Joseph LaCome, the attorney who wrote the briefs in the case filed in Sacramento and who has filed similar lawsuits in Phoenix and San Francisco.

According to LaCome, it had been common practice in immigration courts before the election for judges to hold the bail hearings. He said such proceedings have since tailed off to “nothing.”

On Tuesday, the Trump administration released two memos outlining its enforcement strategy on illegal immigration. Along with the construction of the border wall, the plan called for hiring 10,000 new immigration control officers and 5,000 additional border security officers as well as for having local police departments use their personnel as immigration officers.

The administration’s memos also proposed a surge in “the deployment of immigration judges and asylum officers to interview and adjudicate claims asserted by recent border entrants.” They call for “establishment of appropriate processing and detention facilities,” within a hundred miles of the Mexican border. And they aim to achieve a sharp reduction in what the administration calls the parole of aliens while their immigration cases are pending, which has enabled thousands of them, the administration contends, to abscond from the law.

In response to Trump’s action plan, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s immigrants rights project, Omar Jadwat, said, “Trump does not have the last word here.” Jadwat promised legal action “if they go back to discredited detainer policies that we’ve already beat in court numerous times,” an outcome that the Garcia-Alcazar lawsuit suggests is already taking place.

Kathryn Mattingly, the spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office of Immigration Review, which oversees the nation’s immigration courts, said in an email Wednesday that Murry’s memo “was an independent decision by an immigration judge for one particular respondent.” She said such memorandums “are not distributed to EOIR staff as they apply only to the individual case for which they were written.”

Plaintiff’s attorney LaCome, however, said he has been told by an attorney for the Office of the Chief Counsel – the arm of the Department of Homeland Security that prosecutes cases in immigration court – that Murry’s memorandum is now being distributed around the country, making the case to deny bail hearings to immigrants from coast to coast.

“The OCC attorney told me they took it and ran with it all over the 9th Circuit,” LaCome said. “The attorney told me it also was going all over the country.”

A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which oversees the government’s lawyers in immigration courts, declined to comment on any pending case.

LaCome maintains in the suit, filed Feb. 9, that the Murry memorandum violates the 2011 Diouf decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that entitles aliens to bail hearings every six months, even if they have been rearrested after deportation.

The Garcia-Alcazar petition seeks “an immediate custody hearing before a federal district judge or magistrate, or an IJ (immigration judge) other than IJ Murry,” to determine whether the memorandum is lawful. It also wants to stop the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Executive Office of Immigration Review and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “from continuing their policy of influencing Immigration judges within this Circuit to deny Diouf bond hearings.”

Read the rest of the story here.

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Sacramento sheriff will make concealed weapons permits even easier to get

The CCW process should not even take this long (the whole process is even questionable under our Constitutional rights), given the amount of violent crime in Sacramento.

second amendment3

From Sacramento Bee: The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office rolled out a new process Tuesday to ease the process of obtaining a concealed carry weapon permit, according to a department press release.

The plan would allow people to apply for permits online and reduce the number of required in-person office visits from two to one. Current permit holders will also be able to renew and modify their permits entirely online, according to the press release. Renewals for the CCW permits are needed every two years, according to the Sheriff’s Department website.

The new process could reduce the time it takes to get permits approved by weeks or months, according to the department press release. It could also cut down paperwork and workload for Sheriff’s Department staff, who are charged with processing the permit applications.

Additionally, the process would allow those who complete the application to list five firearms on their permit, up from a total of three allowed previously.

Currently, about one out of every 135 adults in Sacramento County has a license to carry. Sheriff Scott Jones has issued roughly 8,000 concealed permits to Sacramento County residents since taking office in 2011.

The Sacramento Bee found the department had nearly 600 permit interviews scheduled in a single month earlier this year. That amounted to 30 appointments per business day, many spaced just 10 minutes apart.

“We’re looking for ways to make it more efficient, and this certainly will,” Jones said on KFBK radio Tuesday morning.

Currently, CCW permit applicants must fill out a 13-page questionnaire about criminal and mental health history. They are also required to meet with a deputy sheriff, undergo a state criminal background check and complete a 16-hour course on firearms safety.

The Sheriff’s Department said permit holders will also be given a new identification card made of hard plastic. The card will include a prominent photograph of the holder. The department anticipates the process to be fully executed by January 2017.

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Ex-California state senator gets prison for taking bribes

Yep, he’s a demorat.

Demorat Ron Calderon

Demorat Ron Calderon

From Fox News: Former California state Sen. Ron Calderon was sentenced Friday to 3½ years in prison in a corruption scandal in which he acknowledged taking bribes in exchange for his influence in Sacramento.

U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder imposed the sentence in Los Angeles after listening to Calderon emotionally ask to remain under house arrest or “at least get me home to my family sooner.”

Federal prosecutors had asked for a 5-year prison term in a blistering brief that mocked Calderon for making false and misleading claims about bribes he accepted and distorting his previous admissions in court.

“Defendant asks this court to endorse his view that an elected official who repeatedly and egregiously abuses the trust of the electorate warrants essentially the lowest possible sanction for a federal conviction,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mack Jenkins wrote. “Defendant’s requested sentence would permit (Calderon) to continue to trivialize his corrupt actions, as he does throughout his sentencing position, and continue to evade true accountability.”

Calderon was ordered to report to prison Jan. 3.

The sentencing brought an end to an ugly chapter in California politics that saw three state Democratic senators indicted in 2014. It also tarnishes what was a Calderon political dynasty in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

Calderon, 59, pleaded guilty to a single count of mail fraud in June and admitted to soliciting more than $155,000 in payments or financial benefits in exchange for supporting or blocking legislation.

He took $12,000 worth of trips to Las Vegas from an undercover FBI agent who posed as the owner of a Los Angeles movie studio seeking his support for film tax credits, though the legislation never passed, according to his signed plea agreement. The agent hired Calderon’s daughter for a $3,000 a month no-show job and paid $5,000 toward his son’s college tuition.

Calderon also acknowledged helping a hospital owner maintain a massive health care fraud scheme in exchange for hiring his son for $10,000 over three summers for no more than 15 days of work a season filing papers.

Demorat Thomas Calderon

Demorat Thomas Calderon

The defendant’s brother, ex-Assemblyman Thomas Calderon, was also caught up in the FBI investigation. Thomas Calderon, 62, a political consultant, pleaded guilty to laundering some of the bribes and was recently sentenced to 10 months in prison. Half of that term was to be served at home.

The two Montebello Democrats had followed their older brother, Charles Calderon, to Sacramento, where he served in both chambers of the Legislature before they were elected. After the indictments came down against his brothers, Charles Calderon lost a race for a seat on the Los Angeles County Superior Court bench. His son, Ian Calderon, is a Democrat in the state Assembly.

The legal troubles for the two younger Calderon brothers in 2014 came at an embarrassing time for Senate Democrats. Fellow Sens. Leland Yee and Rod Wright were facing unrelated felony charges.

All three were suspended, though they continued to be paid under rules later reversed by voters to give state lawmakers the ability to suspend colleagues’ pay and voting power if accused of wrongdoing in office.

leland yee

Yee, of San Francisco, was sentenced to five years in federal prison in an organized crime case centered in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Wright was convicted of lying about living outside his Los Angeles district and sentenced to three months in jail.

Jaime Regalado, a political science professor at California State University, Los Angeles, said the convictions of the Calderons were symbolically important, but he didn’t think they would have a big impact on future corruption.

“The public would like to think the convictions and sentences of Tom and Ron would help clean up Sacramento and the body politic, as well as strike fear in the hearts of legislators who are willing to engage in illegal gambits with the public’s money,” Regalado said. “But the reality is we’ve seen this time and again. … There’s a lot of greed that continues to go around, so this will be a drop in the pan.

DCG

No election fraud charges against Ami Bera, says U.S. Justice Dept.

I’m sure Ami had no idea what his father was doing. Riiiiight.

Demorat Ami Bera

Demorat Ami Bera

From Sacramento Bee: The U.S. Justice Department announced Friday that it has closed the books on its investigation of contributions to the campaign committee of Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove.

The only result of the investigation was the prosecution of Bera’s father, Babulal Bera, who pleaded guilty to election fraud and was sentenced to a year and a day in prison. He was also fined $100,000 and ordered to serve three years under the supervision of federal probation authorities upon his release from prison.

“No other charges will be sought in this matter,” the Justice Department’s announcement said. “The United States will not comment further on this matter.”

Babulal Bera

Babulal Bera

Rep. Bera issued the following prepared statement after the department’s announcement:

 “After conducting an exhaustive investigation, this case was closed after the U.S. attorney stated that my campaign and I had been fully cooperative and that neither I nor my staff were targets of this investigation.

“In this matter, I have never believed it to be appropriate for me to comment on how authorities handle their job, and I trust the decisions they made in the pursuit of this case.

“My father made a grave mistake, but moving forward I’m focused on helping my parents get through the next year.”

Bera faces a stiff challenge in the Nov. 8 election from Republican Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones for his 7th District seat.

Jones’ campaign spokesman Dave Gilliard said in an email, “Congressman Bera was not exonerated or cleared. The statement simply says there will no more charges in the case.”

“That Bera’s elderly father masterminded a very sophisticated quarter of a million dollar political money laundering scheme is beyond rational belief,” Gilliard added.

The FBI, a branch of the Justice Department, investigated contributions made from 2009 through 2012 to Ami Bera’s campaign committee. The agents established that Babulal Bera, 83, of La Palma in Orange County, made unlawfully excessive contributions to his son’s committee and made contributions in the names of other people, also a violation of federal election law.

He solicited legal maximum contributions from people, allowed them to be recorded on the records of the committee and reported to the Federal Election Commission as contributors, and then reimbursed them.

At a May news conference after the matter became public, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert said there were approximately 90 such straw donors who were contributors of record but were reimbursed a total of more than $260,000 by Babulal Bera. He said the straw donors included Bera family members, friends and acquaintances.

Yet, he said, there is no evidence Ami Bera or any members of his congressional and campaign staffs knew of Babulal Bera’s criminal activity.

Talbert acknowledged at the news conference that the straw donors, some of whom were interviewed by the FBI, were culpable due to their participation in the scheme. Their identities have not been made public, and none of them will be charged.

The Justice Department does not typically announce conclusions of its investigations. “It’s unusual for the government to announce its investigations to be over,” said William Portanova, a former federal and state prosecutor now in private practice. “It takes away from the deterrent value. The government wins when people are worried they may be involved in an investigation. Everyone’s behavior improves.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Concealed-gun fees in CA could increase under bill headed to Brown

It’s not like they’ll be getting any additional revenue from the gangbangers to help them balance their budgets.

Governor Brown

Governor Brown

From Sacramento Bee: Concealed carry permits could get more expensive under a bill the California Assembly sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday.

The prevalence of such permits varies widely across California, depending largely on the stance of local sheriffs. Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones has been among the state’s most prolific, granting thousands.

Kevin McCarty

Kevin McCarty

One of the lawmakers whose district falls under Jones’ jurisdiction, Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, introduced a pair of bills intended to more tightly regulate those permits.

He has since abandoned a bill requiring people to show they face imminent danger to get a permit, which would limit how often they’re granted. But a companion bill allowing cities and counties to boost the cost of permits beyond its current $100 floor passed the Assembly Tuesday on a 41-29 vote. McCarty called it a way to help local governments balance their budgets.

“It simply requires that the fees charged by a sheriff or police chief cover the cost to obtain or enforce these permits,” McCarty said, adding that for former local officials now in the Legislature, “an issue we know all about is cost recovery.”

But critics called that misleading, arguing McCarty simply opposes the notion of concealed weapons.

“That’s what this is about – pricing people out of their constitutional right to have a concealed carry permit,” said Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore.

In addition to McCarty, Assembly members Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, and Bill Dodd, D-Napa, voted for the bill. Sacramento-area members Jim Frazier, D-Oakley and Beth Gaines, R-El Dorado HIlls voted no. James Gallagher, R-Plumas Lake, and Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, did not vote.

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