Among the prison firefighters who fought a large wildfire in California last year was Bounchan Keola, a Lao immigrant who was sentenced to 28 years in gang-related shootings at the age of 16.
The state later handed him over to federal immigration authorities. And advocates are once again spotlighting his proceedings to get approval for a bill banning state prisons from transferring prisoners to the US Immigration and Customs Department.
Keola was released on ICE in January, but knows his future in the US is vulnerable. He is a statutory resident and fled Laos with his parents at the age of two, but federal law allows the deportation of certain criminal convicted migrants.
Keora told reporters Wednesday, “I think this is what they are doing to those who endanger their lives to protect their homes from wildfires, and it’s painful to (California Correction and Rehabilitation Agency) I was betrayed so much, “he said. Mr. Keora said he could be deported to Laos, “a country I have nothing to do with,” at any time.
California law prohibits local police and sheriffs from working with the Federal Immigration Bureau on some crimes, but it does not apply to the state prison system. California prison officials claim to work with the Immigration Bureau on a regular basis to transfer released prisoners to their detention centers and begin deportation proceedings.
Last year, the state transferred more than 1,400 prisoners to the Immigration Bureau, according to the Asian Prisoners Support Commission, an advocacy group.
California Democratic leaders, including Governor Gavin Newsom, frequently fought the Trump administration over immigrants, but the governor broke up over previous bills. In a 2019 veto message, Newsom said, “It could adversely affect prison operations and prevent or delay the necessary movement between facilities for a myriad of circumstances-specific reasons, such as medical and court obligations. I am concerned.
Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Latest legislative efforts.. The ICE said it did not comment on the pending law.
“It’s time to end the double punishment for immigrant Californians,” said Los Angeles Democrat Wendy Carrillo, who submitted the bill last week. “You don’t have to spend valuable time and resources on unnecessary ICE transfers.”
Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat in San Francisco and the main co-author of the bill, said the pandemic gave further urgency to keep migrants out of detention. ICE had 14,397 detainees nationwide last week, down from more than 56,000 in 2019. This is primarily the result of efforts to control the spread of the virus.
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California Dems again introduce bill to block state inmate transfers to ICE custody Source link California Dems again introduce bill to block state inmate transfers to ICE custody