CALIFORNIA, USA — A Rocklin assemblyman is hoping the tragic shooting of three girls and a chaperone in Sacramento can catalyze an effort to repeal California's Sanctuary State law.
The law itself was set back in 2017, and generally, it limited the ability of local law enforcement to notify federal authorities about the release of undocumented immigrants from jail.
"It was a bill specifically designed not to help immigrants, not even to help all undocumented immigrants, but rather, it was a special protection extended to those who are both in the country illegally and have committed crimes while here," said state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R).
Kiley introduced a new bill Monday that would repeal the Sanctuary State law, if passed.
He said the deadly shooting at The Church in Sacramento was a clear illustration of the impacts of the law. The shooting saw David Mora, 39, shoot and kill his three daughters and their chaperone before turning the gun on himself at a church. Kiley said the tragedy could have been avoided if not for the Sanctuary State law.
"He (Mora) was in the country illegally. Not only that but the previous week, he had been arrested. He'd been arrested for assaulting a police officer, and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) asked about his release because of his criminal history and because he was in the country illegally. But the sheriff's office had to say, 'Sorry, we aren't able to give you that information, because of the Sanctuary State law," Kiley said.
He isn't the only person who thought this. On March 5, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones also said on Facebook that U.S. immigration policies and California's sanctuary state laws were to blame.
"Because of California’s Sanctuary State laws, the jail is prohibited from accepting the detainer or communicating with ICE, so he walked out of jail a free man," Jones wrote March 5. "Free to kill four people five days later."
On March 5, ABC10 spoke with Grisel Ruiz, with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, who referred to that perspective as scapegoating. She said that Mora's immigration status had no bearing in the crime and that gun control and domestic violence appeared to be the central issues.
But Kiley says the facts are clear and he's hoping the shooting can act as a catalyst for change, bringing Democrats and Republicans together on the issue.
"Here you have just a very clear example of how this the radical, misguided law, perhaps, you know, had played a part and was really a cause of a just unbelievable tragedy that happened in our community here," Kiley said.
His bill, AB 1708, was introduced Monday. He says it'll head to a committee, possibly public safety or judicial, before being heard.
"I would hope, what success looks like, we pass this bill, we repeal the sanctuary state and we start taking border security seriously again," Kiley said.