Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell concerned about 'sanctuary state' bill

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell has expressed his concern about the "sanctuary state" bill making its way through Sacramento.

The proposed law would keep police and sheriff departments in the state from enforcing federal immigration law.

McDonnell said the bill could also stop immigration agents from getting to violent offenders in jails, which could bring about unintended consequences.

"By not allowing them access to the jails, the potential is and the likelihood is that they're going to have to go into the community to look for the individual. In my assessment, they're not going to limit themselves to that individual," McDonnell explained. "If there are people who are undocumented or of undocumented status with them or in the environment, then potentially they will also be spoken to with deportation as a possibility."

MORE: Sheriff McDonnell discusses bill that could limit contact between law enforcement, ICE

McDonnell sent a letter to California Senate President Kevin de Leon expressing his concern.

De Leon introduced the legislation that has been amended to allow federal officials to receive notice when an inmate with a violent felony is to be released.

"Right now it's going through modifications," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hila Solis, who supports the bill.

Solis said she understands McDonnell's concern about the bill.

"I think he's doing the right thing," Solis said. "I think his experience and the caliber of his concern for the community has always been demonstrated so we support that."

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said his department was also attempting to get some revisions in the legislation.

"What Kevin de Leon is trying to do is the right thing," Beck said. "What we need to do is to make sure is it doesn't hurt us on the end when we deal with violent criminals."

MORE: Chief Beck seeks to reassure undocumented immigrants

Other law enforcement agencies across California have expressed concern with the legislation, many citing a fear of losing federal funding to their departments.
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