Opinion » Shredder

Nothing to see here, move along



Has the SLO County Sheriff's Office been breaking the law? The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) suspects as much! Uh oh! Are you thinking more neglect-driven inmate deaths in the SLO County Jail? Maybe a restraint chair or rubber hose or sock full of no-bruise-leaving oranges? No, no, no!


Our Sheriff's Office is listed as a law enforcement agency that uses—or I should say was using but has now quit using—an automated license plate reader (ALPR) connected to a database run by Vigilant Solutions, which U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE, ice baby!) is suspected of using to track and locate so-called "illegal immigrants" even though last year California voters passed SB 54, California's sanctuary state law, which prevents local police and sheriff's offices from sharing info about those they arrest, question, or detain with the feds and ICE unless the suspect has a prior criminal conviction. Whew! That was a long sentence!

If at this point you're thinking, "Oh, well, that's cool. Screw those Mexican drug dealers and rapists," then you're as ignorant and racist as our Tweeter-in-Chief Donald J. tRump. First, you clearly don't believe in democracy when it results in laws you don't like. Second, most illegal immigrants in California are law abiding and hardworking—probably harder working than you! Third, I don't need a third, man, especially if you've downloaded the Conservative Safe Spaces app so you'll know where you can wear your MAGA hat without being called on your ignorant racism. By the way, is that hat tinfoil-lined? Asking for a friend.

Let's break some shit down.

One myth you've bought into is that immigrants take more in government aid than they contribute, which is false! Several large-scale studies, including a 2017 National Academies of the Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine investigation, prove immigration "has an overall positive impact on the long-run economic growth in the U.S." Yes, first-generation immigrants cost the government more, but second-generation immigrants contribute on average more than all other native-born Americans!

You also believe immigrants take native-born Americans' jobs ... but nope! In fact, immigrants more often take jobs that boost other parts of the economy, generating more jobs for native-born, uneducated, MAGA-hat-wearing knuckle-draggers.

You also believe deep in your heart of hearts that we don't need immigrants! Um, I would suggest you start having more babies, but I shudder at the thought of your horde of goose-stepping offspring marching around with wee tiki torches and chanting, "Jews will not replace us." Plus, it's not like you're going to raise them up to be fieldworkers, right? The fact is, immigrants are key to offsetting our falling birth rate, and yes, if you want to panic about the "browning of America," go ahead, because that's going to happen. Science!

Let's face some tough facts: California's economy is propped up by the labor of illegal immigrants, or as "those crazy liberals" like to call them, undocumented workers, because—you know—they work and lack documentation because of our onerous laws on gaining citizenship or even a green card. These workers make up an estimated 10 percent of California's workforce, and if you want to continue eating all those handpicked crops from California's fertile San Joaquin Valley—Shit! Is that a "Mexican" name? Yes, and if you want cheap eats, you should be welcoming in immigrants and finding them an easier path to citizenship so they can pay more taxes on their low wages.

I digress. Is our Sheriff's Office in violation of SB 54?

"We believe there has been a clear violation of the law and are calling for a proper investigation," ACLU staff lawyer Vasudha Talla was quoted in the LA Times saying. "The documents show a rogue [federal immigration] agency, and it has added mass surveillance to its toolbox."

Yeah, but did our local Sheriff's Office actually participate? They say, "No way, Jose!"

"The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office has never shared information with ICE with respect to data from license plate readers," Sheriff's Spokesmodel Tony Cipolla claimed in a statement to New Times. "We have never used that system for immigration enforcement. The Sheriff's Office has one license plate reader in use at this time with the primary purpose of stopping drug smuggling and human trafficking in our county. We are currently suspending the use of that system until further consultation with county counsel regarding the legality of data collected and shared from license plate readers."

OK, let's see if I have this correctly. You say you've never shared info with ICE, but your ALPR feeds into a system ICE can access, so how do you know whether they used data your ALPR collected, hmm? You also claim your ALPR was only used for "stopping drug smuggling and human trafficking," but now you're suspending it? Um, is drug smuggling and human trafficking suddenly no longer a problem?

Here's the thing, Tony. It sure seems like you're flacking for a sheriff's department that got caught with ICE's hands in its cookie jar, and now you're freaking out because the SLO County Sheriff's Office needs another scandal like SLO Town needs another froyo shop.

I'll have a double scoop of blueberry pomegranate with some rainbow sprinkles, please! Δ

The Shredder thinks ICE is only good for mixed drinks. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.


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