Sheriff Donny Youngblood’s proposal to make Kern County a “non-sanctuary” county has been shot down before even making it to the Board of Supervisors for a vote.

Chances are the plan, which was expected to be on the board’s Tuesday meeting agenda, won’t ever be taken up.

The county’s top lawyer, County Counsel Mark Nations, blocked the sheriff’s request to put the item on the agenda because the proposal is outside the supervisors’ jurisdiction.

“There is a misconception out there that if you want something on the agenda then you just put it on,” he said. “In researching the sheriff’s proposal, I came to the conclusion that the sheriff’s proposal was outside the board’s jurisdiction.”

The county and state have no say over how the federal government enforces immigration, Nations said. There’s also a statute, he said, that makes it clear the Board of Supervisors cannot obstruct the law enforcement work of the sheriff.

“Since the county cannot tell the sheriff whether he can cooperate with federal authorities,” he said, “(supervisors) would be making a declaration over something they have no jurisdiction on.”

The sheriff does not need any board action to do what he is doing, Nations said.

“I did speak to him about this. He’s out of town. He basically said I’m not agreeing with you but if you tell me that’s your legal analysis, then OK,” Nations said.

Youngblood had hoped to have supervisors pass a resolution declaring Kern County a “non-sanctuary” county — setting it apart from several other communities in California that were publicly declaring they would not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officials.

But Nations said formalizing that stance wasn’t something the county could do, legally.

Supervisor Mick Gleason said the sheriff and county are searching for the right path forward.

“These are very challenging, difficult times and everybody is trying to do the best they can to keep the most people safe,” Gleason said. “(Youngblood) sees it his way and he’s going about it his way. That takes a lot of courage.”

Youngblood declined to comment on the decision Wednesday.

Federal law doesn’t require the sheriff to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement ,which means state law governs what Youngblood can and can’t do with inmates who are also immigrants in the country illegally, Nations has said.

A state law prevents Youngblood from detaining those immigrants at Lerdo Jail and handing them over to ICE.

He gets around that by allowing ICE officials to maintain space in Lerdo and giving them access to Kern County Sheriff’s Office databases so they can detain those immigrants on their own.

But Senate Bill 54, which has passed the California Senate and is proceeding through the Assembly’s legislative process, would prevent Youngblood from doing even that except for in cases of serious, violent offenders.

The law would essentially make California a sanctuary state.

In response, Youngblood proposed declaring Kern County a “non-sanctuary” county.

Nations previously said the proposal was largely symbolic and would have no practical or legal impact on county operations.

If SB 54 passes, Youngblood would still be required to comply with the law and would be forced to not cooperate with ICE agents, he said.

But Youngblood has said the goal of the resolution would be to send a message to state and federal officials about where Kern County stands — as a law-and-order county.

But a host of local individuals and groups has called that message harmful and divisive.

Cal State Bakersfield sociology Professor Gonzalo Santos, one of the organizers of a May Day March and Rally in downtown Bakersfield scheduled for Monday, said Youngblood’s arguments are logically flawed.

The laws, Santos said, are actually moving more toward protecting immigrants. Youngblood — in going against that movement — is actually opposing the law, he said.

He said organizers of the march had planned to urge participants to show up Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting to oppose the proposal.

“Among the many demands for the march we have included the goal to denounce and defeat the sheriff’s proposal,” Santos said.

Youngblood, he said, represents the dying vision of Republicans from the 1990s when then-Gov. Pete Wilson championed ill-fated Proposition 187.

But it isn’t just university professors and activists who opposed the sheriff’s proposal.

Greg Wegis, a local farmer and past president of the Kern County Farm Bureau, wrote a letter to Supervisor Leticia Perez urging her to vote against the “non-sanctuary” resolution.

“I wanted to tell you that I hope you will be voting ‘no’ on the non-sanctuary county that Sheriff Youngblood is going to be asking for,” he wrote. “We have too many folks that are the backbone of our industry (that) are only here illegally because our current system does not allow for them to be here legally. There is a tremendous demand of the agriculture work in the county and our legal immigration system does not allow for them to be here legally. A dysfunctional system is the reason we are in a mess right now on illegal immigration.”

James Burger can be reached at 661-395-7417. Follow him on Twitter at @KernQuirks and on Facebook at Tbc James Burger.

(11) comments

CampusSupervisor
CampusSupervisor

Im thinking it might be time for this guy to step down as Sheriff. His dept is in shambles ... and he wants to grand stand politically on this issue. Time for some new leadership in tghe Sheriff's Office - not a re-wind of the same old stuff.

Impeach Trunp
Impeach Trunp

Sheriff Youngblood has much bigger fish to fry , why don't you deal with the out of control gang violence killing and wounding inocent children comitted by good ole Americans? Or the out of control crime in the kern river valley?? People having to wait hours after calling 911 for help? Typical good ole boy thinking from kcso people are being set on fire and doing meth on the streets of oildale but he wants to go after the Mexicans! Pure racist state of mind in full force from kern county's finest ! So much for protect and serve

whiterose73
whiterose73

Finally a hint of sanity from our county government!

pumpkinpatriot
pumpkinpatriot

Mark Nations is a traitor and an enemy within our Republic. He should be fired and shunned by all in Kern County.
Mick Gleason is also a traitor. He does not have any courage to fight the left to stop the illegal invasion of people
that have no legal right to be here. It is very shocking that an ex Navy officer won't live up to his Constitutional duty
and do the right thing. John "Captured" McCain must have been his mentor.
Greg Wegis represents the typical sellout farmer in Kern County.
Who only cares about how much money they stuff in their pocket even if they have to destroy their own country.
Illegal aliens are killing or violently injuring thousands of Americans everyday.
I think all three of these men should be thrown in jail for helping our enemies destroy America.

Criz1987
Criz1987

The reporter made a misstatement. There is a law that requires cooperation by local law enforcement with ICE. Title 8 U.S. Code section 1373. Look it up James Burger.

Nonyabusiness
Nonyabusiness

Gutless BofS.

Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane

Sheriff Youngblood-the people of Kern County are with you. Seems Kern is a microcosm of the nation-a minority opinion that goes against the constitution somehow hold the majority at bay. Only if we let them. KCSO controls the jails. Just drop them to ICE. -MAGA

Churchillis1
Churchillis1

Oh, how far we have fallen....
A sheriff wants to make clear that he will enforce the law and people say he is violating the law by doing so. Insanity, thy name is California.

Criz1987
Criz1987

Logically flawed? Illegal immigrants in jail need protection? Protection from what? Seems logic is with Sheriff Youngblood. ICE should be given the opportunity to take action against those who victimize our community.

Nevermind
Nevermind

Oh the horror of cheap labor.

MsJester
MsJester

Did the person on top say he has bigger fish to fry being the gang violence.. and the drugs Ect. Really did you think that through half the gang violence is from the youth of the illegal Hispanic gang bangers who buy the way are the ones trafficking 80% of the drugs into out county from dare I say it..... Mexico. So if you address the illegal immigrants then you are removing part of the gang problems followed by less availability to the drugs. Imagine that did you ever think past calling someone you don't agree with a raciest. Is that always going to be everyone's reply. Sure even legal citizens commit crimes and by all means should have to answer for there actions. But our citizens are exactly that which makes them our responsibility. The ones who refuse to go through with becoming a legal citizen shouldn't be here to create an even bigger distraction to the people trying to do there jobs and protect the community. Less gangs means less violence less Less gangs means less drugs filtered into the street. Less time spent distracted means a stronger brighter safer community. There is absolutely nothing raciest about wanting your community safe and protected by keeping out what should not have been here to begin with. If they wanna come here to work then do it legally. Why is the logic in that so difficult for some to grasp. It's you and the rest of us he wanting to protect

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