TULARE COUNTY, California (KSEE) – The brother of a murdered Tulare County man slammed the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of the Trump Administration’s bid to do away with the state’s sanctuary law.
“For me, the sanctuary cities are protecting criminals,” Jody Jones said.
Jones’ brother, Rocky Jones, was murdered in a 2018 Tulare County crime spree referred to by Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux as a ‘reign of terror.’ Gustavo Garcia, an undocumented immigrant with a violent criminal past, committed a string of crimes including car-jacking, two murders, a high-speed chase and a shootout with law enforcement.
“It destroyed our family,” Jones said.
The sanctuary law prevents local law enforcement from sharing information with federal immigration agents and helping them catch undocumented immigrants for deportation. Garcia had been arrested just days before.
“ICE sent a detainer to the Tulare County Sheriff’s department to hold him and they couldn’t honor it because of the new law, the sanctuary city laws. He was let go,” Jones said.
However, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra praised the high courts decision.
“In California, we’ve seen the success that comes from building trust between law enforcement and our hard-working immigrant communities. The last thing we need to do is to erode that trust.”
Proponents say the law ensures undocumented immigrants feel safe reporting crimes and aiding in prosecutions.
Jones family attorney Butch Wagner said they’re still pushing for legislation for victims.
“Criminal illegal immigrants who were released in sanctuary cities, (the legislation would allow) the families and victims to sue the sanctuary states or cities,” he said.
Jones said it’s time laws started changing, and lawmakers were held accountable.
“Somebody’s going to have to step up and bring everybody together. This is a non-partisan issue. It’s not a Democrat, it’s not a Republican thing. It’s a safety thing. We need to protect our communities,” he said.
Jones as well as the Trump administration, both plan on continuing to challenge the sanctuary laws.