Shasta BOS Fence Riding Could Potentially Cost Local Law Enforcement Millions in Funding
Early last month the Shasta County Board of Supervisors declined to take up discussion of a resolution declaring that Shasta County would comply with Federal Immigration Law and reporting standards. The proposed resolution, if passed, would have followed in the footsteps of Tehama and Siskiyou Counties whose Boards voted to comply with Federal Immigration Laws and legally declare their jurisdictions not part of a “sanctuary jurisdiction”. The City of Anderson, a town within Shasta County, broke ranks with County leadership by also choosing to comply with Federal law. Adoption of these resolutions are a response of direct defiance to the State of California’s Legislature who, with the passage of SB 54, seeks to declare the State of California a “sanctuary jurisdiction” for illegal aliens and orders local law enforcement to illegally ignore Federal Immigration Laws.
SB 54, which is awaiting signature by Governor Jerry Brown, specifically declares;
This bill would, among other things and subject to exceptions, prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes, as specified… The bill would require all public schools, public libraries, health facilities operated by the state or a political subdivision of the state, and courthouses to implement the model policy, or an equivalent policy. The bill would state that all other organizations and entities that provide services related to physical or mental health and wellness, education, or access to justice, including the University of California, are encouraged to adopt the model policy. The bill would require a law enforcement agency that chooses to participate in a joint law enforcement task force, as defined, to submit a report every 6 months to the Department of Justice, as specified. The bill would require the Attorney General, within 14 months after the effective date of the bill, and twice a year thereafter, to report on the types and frequency of joint law enforcement task forces, and other information, as specified, and to post those reports on the Attorney General’s Internet Web site. The bill would require the Board of Parole Hearings or the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, as applicable, to notify United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the scheduled release on parole or post-release community supervision, or re-release following a period of confinement pursuant to a parole revocation without a new commitment, of all persons confined to state prison serving a current term for the conviction of a violent or serious felony, or who has a prior conviction for a violent or serious felony.
Shasta County’s failure to openly declare they will comply with Federal Law and reporting standards potentially exposes the County Sheriffs Office to the loss of millions of dollars in Federal grants and pass through dollars. As declared by newly confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Board of Supervisors fence riding could not only endanger current budgetary funds but could as well make the Shasta County Sheriff ineligible for future Federal funding altogether. In his recent speech Attorney General Sessions also alluded to the Department of Justice seeking to “claw back” Federal funds from Sanctuary Jurisdictions. “Claw-back” is when a granting agency seeks a return of funds distributed for a grantees failure to use the funds as required or malfeasance in other areas. According to a Federal Department of Justice spokesperson “claw-back” could seek to retrieve all funds dispersed or funds dispersed over the last five years in the case of continual disbursements.
According to financial records obtained by the Shasta Lantern from the Sheriff’s Department through a FOIA request, from 2011-2016 Shasta County Sheriff received just under 10 million dollars in Federal Funding. This would be the amount the Federal Department of Justice could seek to immediately “claw-back” from County coffers if they so choose. Such an impact could be fiscally devastating to the County as a whole, not only to a struggling Sheriffs Dept. already strapped for desperately needed funds. The impact to local law enforcement would be further compounded by the loss of annual Federal revenues, potentially indefinitely. At the time of this writing Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko has been unavailable for comment, currently the Department is involved in a high profile homicide case.
The anti-sanctuary resolution passed by Tehama and others seeks to protect those municipalities and their public safety infrastructure from reprisals from the Department of Justice. At this time Shasta County has proposed a “strongly worded letter”, similar to other failed Board attempts at mitigation, to the State expressing their concerns over sanctuary status. This attempt by the Shasta Board of Supervisors to “split the baby”, by not openly defying California, yet dispatching a “strongly worded letter” in hopes it will provide judicial shelter if called to task by the Federal Department of Justice could backfire unexpectedly. In truth, the Board’s initial refusal to adopt a resolution in support of Federal Law, when presented the opportunity, likely has already weakened any possible argument made to protect from fiscal sanctions. After discussion with the DOJ’s Office of Legal Council to the Executive Branch, it is clear that anything short of full compliance with Federal Law will likely lead to reprisals on a direct local level, not simple “trickle down” loss from the State level. There will be no quarter found in a “Nuremberg” like, “we were just following orders” defense.
The Board has stated they did not wish to confront the issue directly in fear of jeopardizing State disaster funds that may be forthcoming in response to recent storm damage. Considering the State of California had to first apply to the Federal Government to seek those funds in the first place, that argument fails to hold water. Further, considering the already lost funding for a new Court House, the loss of a new Jail Annex and other civic projects it is quite unclear when this California Midas laden with bags of gold will appear.
Comment on the situation has been so far non-forthcoming from Board members, with the Exception of Les Baugh, a staunch supporter of Shasta County Sheriff and Public Safety,
His statement is as follows;
Sanctuary State status is in direct opposition to existing federal law. The state of California is charging toward the edge of the proverbial cliff, Senate Bill 54 in hand, taking every county and city along for the ride. I believe it is absolutely illegal for the State of California to attempt to instruct law enforcement to disregard federal law. The president has already stated his clear intention to penalize those embracing sanctuary status by withholding federal funds. Governor Brown didn’t think that was possible, however, he may want to rethink that now that the feds have stated their intention to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars from Brown’s pet train project. Should President Trump fully carry out his threat, and I have every reason to believe that he will, the state, cities and counties stand to lose and lose big.
Shasta County Supervisor
It remains to be seen if Supervisor Baugh’s clear grasp of the dire situation will permeate the thought process of other Board members in hopes they can take decisive action in support of the law and the Constitution in time to head catastrophe off at the pass.