After two contentious meetings, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to approve an ordinance on second reading that prohibits county departments from using any resources or personnel to assist or cooperate with requests from the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement or any other immigration authorities.
The measure includes prohibitions on communicating information about individuals such as their date of release from custody or their home address to immigration officials. Supervisor Ray Mueller, who represents the coast, cast the lone vote in opposition.
Prior to the vote the board rejected an amendment proposed by Mueller that would have created exemptions to the rule if the individual who is the subject of the immigration enforcement activities had been convicted of murder, rape or sexual abuse of a minor.
The majority maintained that the amendment was not necessary because the ordinance allows local authorities to respond to judicial warrants and other state or federal regulations. Cooperating with ICE in other instances, they argued, would create a two-tiered system of justice in which immigrants could suffer detention and deportation even after completing the terms of their criminal sentencing.
Mueller explained his vote against the ordinance, saying that the current policy of Sheriff Christina Corpus corresponds to the stipulations of the proposed law but, as a voluntary practice, leaves room for flexibility in exceptional cases.
The acrimony on April 25 began as soon as the board attempted to set the agenda for the meeting. On advice from County Attorney John Nibbelin, Mueller introduced the amendment as a separate item from the main motion. Other supervisors objected to this
approach and, after extended discussion, voted to remove the separate item and combine consideration of the motion and the amendment.
Debate on the question quickly became heated. Addressing Mueller directly, Supervisor David Canepa said, “Your comments are either ignorant or you haven’t done your homework” and added, “Your dog whistling has an adverse effect.”
Supervisor Noelia Corzo added, “You spread the rhetoric that conflated immigrants with asylum seekers and with those who committed serious crimes,” she told Mueller. She said that this transformed the sanctuary issue into “a debate about immigration.”
Mueller described the attacks on him as “entirely unprofessional.”
Supervisor Warren Slocum observed that in his 10 1/2 years on the board, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
The vote followed more than 50 public comments, including one from Half Moon Bay City Councilman Joaquin Jimenez who supported Mueller’s proposal.
“The amendments are not anti-immigrant, they’re anti-criminal.” Jimenez said. He echoed Mueller by invoking the seven farmworkers killed in Half Moon Bay by an immigrant laborer in January even though neither the ordinance nor the amendment would have any impact if the accused 66-year-old is convicted on multiple counts of murder.
Thank you Peter Tokofsky for writing this article and including the identity and comments made by County Supervisors Canepa, Corzo and Slocum. It is the accurate and detailed journalism like this that contributes to an informed public. Particularly interesting and revealing were the comments by HMB Councilman Jimenez referencing Supervisor Muller's proposal. Mueller's proposed exemption would be those aliens who committed murder, rape or sexual abuse of a minor. The fact that Noelia Corzo is opposed to this specific exemption is very revealing. It also appears that Noelia Corzo is unfamiliar with the specific enumerated categories for asylum claims. This informative article will certainly be relevant in making voting decisions in future County Supervisor elections.
“The amendments are not anti-immigrant, they’re anti-criminal.” Councilmember Jimenez
True but many would point out that illegal immigrants are breaking the law. On the other hand, the sentiment is right. Not a Muller fanboy and Canepa has the ethics of a Reptile. Muller has this one right. Why would they change the rules when the rules were working? Is Canepa going to be there when they release somebody into our community that should not be among us? I don't care a bit about anybody's immigration status but this is ridiculous.
So thankful to Mueller, unfortunately it wasn't enough. What a shame. David Canepa is a disgrace.
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