Sheriff Scott Jones went to the White House on Tuesday, claiming to represent “ground zero” in President Donald Trump’s war over sanctuary cities. Jones reported that California is rife with “spectacular failures” of law enforcement and beset by dangerous criminal immigrants who ought to be handed over to federal authorities by local law enforcement, but instead are unleashed on the unsuspecting public “every single day.”
Give us a break. This is the same Sheriff Scott Jones who last month reported that Sacramento County’s crime rate dropped 24 percent over the last five years.
The same Sheriff Scott Jones who last year, in his failed campaign against U.S. Rep. Ami Bera for Congress, insisted to The Sacramento Bee that immigrants, including immigrants without papers, “are productive members of our community” who shouldn’t simply be rounded up and deported.
The same Sheriff Scott Jones, we might add, who renounced Trump during that congressional campaign to the moderate voters in his district and later pooh-poohed rumors that he was angling for a job in Trump’s administration.
We don’t deny that criminals exist and that some lack valid documents. And just as lawbreakers can come from any background – cities, farms, suburbs, sketchy real estate families in New York City’s outer boroughs – there are, indeed, bad immigrants, such as the twice-deported Luis Bracamontes, who was convicted last month of slaying Placer sheriff’s Detective Michael Davis Jr. and Jones’ own Sacramento sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver.
But Jones knows as well as anyone that the Bracamontes case has nothing to do with California’s refusal to enable Trump’s sick and counterproductive push for mass immigrant arrests and deportation. And he knows that California’s “sanctuary” laws are nowhere near as obstructionist as Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are pretending.
Jones’ deputies can do plenty to make sure that immigrants convicted of serious crimes are deported. They just can’t run around rousting brown people and demanding their immigration status. That’s a good thing, both for the public and for local law enforcement officers, who can’t safeguard a public that doesn’t trust them.
The situation here bears no resemblance to the epic pandering Jones put forth on Tuesday. Sacramento County is many things, but it isn’t some “crimmigrant” hellscape.
You know what is a “spectacular failure,” though? An elected county official, running for re-election, who goes to Washington and forgets whom he’s representing – besides his own inexplicably starstruck self.