Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood is being called the new “Sheriff Arpaio.” He has recently declared
Sheriff Youngblood, 64, is a Vietnam Veteran and president of the Major County Sheriffs’ Association. He’s also been elected three times by voters in the county for his conservative views.
In a phone conversation with the governor over the issue of illegal immigration and the laws and policies coming from his office, Sheriff Youngblood said the governor asked him, “What are you trying to do to me?” In response, Youngblood questioned, “What are you trying to do to me?”
According to the LA Times:
A Republican in one of the reddest counties in the state, Youngblood had riled the Democratic governor when he announced that his department would defy the Trust Act, a law signed by Brown that restricts cooperation between local law enforcement officials and federal immigration agents.
The sheriff said the law put him in an impossible position, stuck between a federal program that relies on local jails to hold inmates who might be deportable and a state law that says inmates in jail for low-level crimes can’t be detained past their release dates.
That kind of stance has won him enemies in California’s immigrant-rights movement and frequent comparisons to Joe Arpaio, the brash Arizona sheriff notorious for his workplace raids and ID checks.
Youngblood believes the federal government needs to enforce the current immigration laws or else correct wrongs in the current laws with Congress writing new ones.
He was critical of Obama’s unlawful deportation policies that are not adhering to current immigration laws. Among those policies of Obama, which are not based in law, is that illegal aliens who are in the United States, have not committed serious crimes and have less than three minor crimes on their record won’t be deported.
“You’re in this country illegally and we’re going to give you three bites of the apple?” he said. “That’s three victims! If you commit crimes, you oughta go.”
Additionally, the Times went on to report that Youngblood “has largely refused to sign paperwork that immigrant crime victims need to apply for U visas, which allow some victims to stay in the country lawfully.”
He has also asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to share data with local law enforcement so that they might be able to determine who is in the country illegally.
Though he and his deputies began to follow the Trust Act last year on the advice of their attorneys, Sheriff Youngblood says that he reserves the right to violate it.
“If ICE calls me and says, ‘You have someone there who has committed this heinous crime, and we really need you to hold them,’ I’m probably going to hold them,” Youngblood told the Times.
The LA Times piece gave an example of a couple who has been living in the US illegally for 9 years who had been attacked, beaten and robbed. According to the husband, he believes the sheriff has a problem with Latinos. “We are at his mercy,” said the illegal alien.
Normally, a U visa will be issued to these illegals for their commitment to be helpful by the Bakersfield Police Department, who make it a matter of policy to sign all of them. However, Sheriff Youngblood believes the premise of the law is unfounded.
“If you have a system that rewards you for being a victim, it’s subject to abuse,” he said.
And his supporters agree. Ellen Fluhart, 70, a retired rancher said, “They broke the law. They shouldn’t be rewarded.”
Now, granted, an injustice doesn’t demand that justice be exercised. However, if one is in the process of knowingly committing a crime and becomes the victim in the midst of that crime, there does seem to be a real issue with that.
While Youngblood is being compared with Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, I think he believes that is a compliment.
“We are right-of-the-center on things,” he said. “I always say Kern is a county that ought to be in Arizona.”
In speaking about Kern County, “If everybody thought the same, this would be a pretty boring place. This is where I learned my behaviors and my thoughts and my beliefs. None of which make me right.”