Orange County relaxes its stance on illegal immigration.

Orange County quits program that exemplified its tough stance on illegal immigration

By Cindy Carcamo

When state legislators drafted Senate Bill 54, a bill that positioned the Golden State as a “sanctuary” for those who are in the country without legal status, Hutchens vehemently spoke out in opposition.

But as 2017 drew to a close and with SB 54 taking effect at the start of this year, Hutchens took a step back and ended her agency’s participation in a federal-local immigration enforcement program known as 287(g), which allowed Orange County deputies to act as immigration agents in its jail.

The program was emblematic of the county’s historical opposition to illegal immigration and cozy relationship with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The O.C. Sheriff’s Department was a holdout in California, becoming the only government entity in the state to participate in the program. Los Angeles County dropped out of the program in 2015.

It’s no surprise that a place that gave rise to some of the most influential immigration enforcement activists in the country would hold on for so long, said Louis DeSipio, a professor of political science at UC Irvine.

“It certainly has always been an anchor of right-wing populism in the state,” he said.

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