The Desert IndependentTM
Serving Blythe and the Desert Regions of the Southwest Since 2001
Letter from Chief Jeff Wade to the Citizens of Blythe
March 28, 2019
BLYTHE, Calif – Today, March 28th, 2019, the Blythe Police Department was notified by the United States Border Patrol, Yuma Sector, of which Blythe Station is a part, has experienced a significant rise in the number of family units arrested throughout their sector for immigration violations. This demographic is apparently challenging in that they cannot be immediately returned to their country of origin. We were told that U.S. Border Patrol processing centers are not designed to house the current numbers of families and small children that they are encountering. Due to capacity issues at various Border Patrol stations the USBP has begun identifying detainees for potential release in various cities with a notice to appear for their immigration hearings.
The releases impacting the Blythe area are beginning today, and are expected to be anywhere from 20-50 individuals daily. We were assured that NO criminals would be released, and that those that were released would primarily consist of Female, head of households, families (dads, moms, and children), single adults, and unaccompanied minors
The immigration debate is not a new one in our Country, and regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, we here in California have Senate Bill 54, better known as the Sanctuary State Bill, which went into effect January 1st, 2018. SB 54 is very specific on what California law enforcement can and can’t do.
SB 54 prohibits state and local law enforcement from holding illegal aliens on the basis of federal immigration detainers, or transferring them into federal custody, unless they’ve been convicted in the last 15 years for one of a list of 31 crimes, or are a registered sex offender: if not, they may only be held with a warrant from a federal judge.
It prohibits state and local law enforcement from asking anyone about their immigration status or sharing any information with federal immigration that is not available to the general public.
In a nutshell it prohibits state and local law enforcement from using any of their money or personnel to “investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.”
As the Chief of Police, the safety of anyone within the City of Blythe is my main priority. All of us here at the police department are committed to keeping our City safe and we will continue to enforce all California codes of law.
We will not however respond to calls for service that are solely immigration related. If you have immigration related information to share you are certainly within your rights to do so and can call the appropriate federal agency, but we here at the police department are prohibited by California state law and cannot be a conduit for that information sharing.
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