Yuba County Open to Opting out of Sanctuary State Law (SB54)

On March 31, the Appeal-Democrat published an article with the title Yuba County Open to Opting out of Sanctuary State Law.  The article was the result of action taken by the board of supervisors at our March 27th meeting in response to public input.  Based on requests from the public, the board of supervisors requested that staff prepare options for the board to consider regarding opting out of SB54, the Sanctuary State law.  You can read the full article here.

The article includes the following quote from me:  The board isn’t happy with the legislation,” said Supervisor Gary Bradford. “Prior to its passage, the board sent letters strongly opposing the legislation. I think the board wants to continue making that statement and do what county residents are asking but without putting the county at risk.” and when I posted the article and my quote on my Facebook page, I received requests for more details what those risks are.

Consider the following items with respect to potential risks:

  • A majority of the County’s funding comes from State and Federal sources. In addition, the County is a political subdivision of the State and thus cannot disregard State law.  Violating and/or disregarding state law could put the County at risk for losing State funding, which could result in the reduced ability or inability of the County to provide vital services to its residents.  There is a risk to any County who doesn’t comply with State law, though this risk may decrease as more jurisdictions “opt out”.
  • The Sheriff’s department now receives over $6 million annually by housing ICE detainees in our jail pursuant to a contract with the Federal Government, all of which is revenue that remains with the Sheriff’s Department. A revision to SB 54, specifically lobbied for by the Sheriff and Administration to the Governor’s Office prior to its passage, allowed this contract to continue.  However, disregarding State law could cause the legislature to reconsider that provision.  Such a decision would likely result in deep cuts to services provided by the Sheriff’s department to the residents of Yuba County.  This risk is unique to those counties in CA that have contracts with ICE including Yuba.
  • Yuba is one of four counties mentioned in the Federal Government’s lawsuit against CA.  We are not currently a named party; however, any action that could result in Yuba County being named a party or otherwise deeply involved in the lawsuit would clearly cost Yuba County taxpayers money, due to the costs involved with litigation. That cost could directly impact the services we provide to residents.  As mentioned previously, this risk is unique to Yuba County and the other counties who house ICE detainees pursuant to a Federal contract.

My job as a supervisor is to consider all the facts, receive staff input, receive community input, and make an educated and well-informed decision that I believe is best for our residents.  Clearly there are many residents who want us to take action to continue to cooperate with ICE when illegal immigrants commit crimes in our community.  I want our law enforcement to do that as well.  There is clearly a potential risk to public safety by allowing convicted criminals to remain in our community once they have served their time.  However, is that risk greater than the risk to county services, including the potential impact to the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department, if any of the potential risks I mentioned above materialized?  Probably not.  I guarantee that many who want the County to take action would be less supportive if the end result was a loss of funding to law enforcement and thus a decrease in public safety services.

That’s why the Board has asked staff to come back to us with some options.  We are seeking options that will continue to express the Board’s strong opposition to SB 54 while protecting public safety and county services for all of the residents of Yuba County.

Gary Bradford, Yuba County Supervisor, District 4