Sheriff, SDPD chief address questions over sanctuary state status

SAN DIEGO – San Diego’s top law enforcement officers took a moment Monday night to quell fears regarding the new sanctuary state law.

“People doesn’t like what happens right now,” said Gabriela Delgado, a concerned resident. “I feel so sad because I met people who have been separated from families.”

Come January, California becomes a sanctuary state.  The new law, SB 54 would prohibit law enforcement agencies from using personnel or funds to hold, question or share information about people with federal immigration agents unless they’ve been convicted of serious offenses.

About 200 people packed into Christ the King Catholic Church in Logan Heights for a community meeting regarding the SB 54.

“They don’t feel secure to be on the bus trolley or streets,” said Blanca Rodriguez, a concerned resident.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore and San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman were at the meeting hosted by San Diego Organizing project.  Both said as long as no serious crime is committed, there is nothing to worry about.

“If you’re a witness or victim of a crime we need you to come forth,” said Zimmerman.

“We want the cooperation of the 200 to 300,000 people in this community without documentation,” said Gore.

Gore said as it is jail records are public, but the new law can limit information his agency shares to federal immigration officers.

“There has to be a prior conviction of a serious offense before we can share release dates time and dates with ICE,” said Gore. “It covers almost 800 violations that now that we can work with ICE, but there’s still some ones that are of concern to me like DUI’s Domestic Violence and repeat offenses.”

Both the chief andsheriff said most important is the community working together to keep San Diego safe.

“We are not immigration officers and we are not going to be immigration officers,” said Zimmerman.