The City of Escondido recently declined to apply for federal funds (Community Oriented Policing Services grant) that would have required the Escondido Police Department to cooperate with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement.)
The grant of $250,000 from the Department of Justice would have been used to hire two full-time officers for three years.
Cities such as Escondido are being put in the middle of a struggle between the State of California and its “sanctuary state” legislation and the federal government, which is given supremacy in immigration matters, despite the Golden State’s bluster.
Even, so, a city such as Escondido has to be careful how it deals with the California Values Act, the official name of the “sanctuary state” legislation. Although Escondido Mayor Sam Abed has decried that legislation, he has also been careful to say that the city is operating within the law. It is not defying immigration authorities, like some Golden State cities are openly doing, but it is being as cooperative as it can within state law.
The state law repealed provisions of the old law where the names of persons who were arrested for controlled substance violations would be turned over to immigration authorities. It also prevents local police from turning over illegal aliens arrested for other offense to ICE—And it prohibits them from cooperating with immigration authorities.
The Voice of San Diego interviewed Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter—who it quoted as saying that the city couldn’t afford to apply for the grant because it required matching funds.
Chief Carter spelled this out in the letter that he wrote earlier this year rejecting the grant. He wrote that the “financial constraints” associated with the grant made it “impractical to accept.”
In September, when the city applied for the grant, it appeared as though Escondido was prepared to cooperate with federal authorities, as the grant requires. The police chief and mayor signed a “Certification of Illegal Immigration Cooperation,” which guaranteed that before the city used the money that it would implement practices giving U.S. Homeland Security officers access to jails or correctional facilities to meet with aliens or suspected aliens.
Since the city has turned down the grant, its promises to cooperate with federal authorities is no longer operative.