Marin’s Sheriff Doyle Should Resign as SCOTUS Rules Against Trump Challenge of California Sanctuary Law

Today the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s challenge to California’s sanctuary law, which restricts state and local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration agents. Over the dissents of Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, the court denied review of a lower-court ruling that concluded the 2018 state law does not interfere illegally with federal immigration policy. In noting this momentous decision and how it reflects on the hardship Marin County’s residents endured at the hands of Sheriff Robert Doyle, it is time for him to resign. Given the current public outcry and the Black Lives Matter call for reform and anti-racism, Marin should no longer stand for hypocrisy. Doyle needs to go!

The central feature of the law prohibits police and sheriff’s officers and state officers from notifying federal agents of the upcoming release dates of undocumented immigrants in their custody, or from holding them beyond the completion of their sentences so that immigration agents can pick them up for deportation. The restrictions do not apply to inmates convicted of violent crimes.

The Trump administration argued that the California laws were aimed at interfering with immigration enforcement and that the sanctuary law, SB54, violated a federal statute requiring states to allow police to inform federal agents of the immigration status of anyone in local custody. But a federal judge in Sacramento ruled in July 2018 that the federal law did not require states to cooperate with immigration agents by informing them of impending release dates or holding immigrants for transfer to federal custody.

Another state law, also left intact by the court, requires employers to notify employees when federal agents seek to inspect their employment records.

For the longest time Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle took the Trump mantel, changing his stance only when forced to face the transparency that the Truth Act Forum insisted upon. Doyle has held office for well over 20 years, and the only reason he finally adhered to this California sanctuary law was when forced into submission through the Truth Act Forum. Many questions still remain unanswered and many Marin families suffered hardship because of Doyle’s misguided approach. Though he seemingly shifted, it came from the Marin social justice community outrage at his actions, as opposed to a genuine change of attitude. Doyle must go!   (See #ICEOUTOFMARIN)

In May 2018 

Sanctuary split: While SF jail snubs ICE, Marin County does the opposite”:

One of the central features of the statewide sanctuary law that has pitted California against the Trump administration is that it seeks to put limits on when local jails may turn over undocumented immigrants to federal deportation officers.

But Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle, one of the 58 county sheriffs charged with enforcing SB54, provides no sanctuary to inmates in his lockup — and apparently doesn’t have to, thanks to an exception in the law.

If U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement tells Marin County it wants to take custody of an inmate and requests the person’s release date, Doyle’s deputies comply if such a date exists. And if ICE officers show up to the San Rafael jail to take the inmate, they are brought to a private area for the transfer.

Doyle believes this approach avoids potential disturbances between ICE and those waiting for an inmate in the main lobby.

And I believe that Doyle’s approach was an expression of racism and xenophobia, in lockstep with the Trump Administration attitude. Lest we forget he noted in an interview, – now proven wrong by SCOTUS:

“A lot of people think SB54 makes us a sanctuary state. It doesn’t, at all,” Doyle said in an interview.”

His decisive assertion had no legal basis, as we now know and hence is a reflection of the man’s mindset. If he gave a damn about immigrants, and their children, he would not be calling ICE on undocumented fathers and mothers for petty crimes and arrests where people had not even been convicted by released. And what makes that much worse is all the racial profiling that goes on by the Sheriff’s Department with regard to black and brown people.

The article further noted:

There are few circumstances in which an undocumented immigrant jailed in San Francisco will be turned over to ICE, thanks to local laws that go much further than SB54, which was written by state Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year. But head north over the Golden Gate Bridge, and the feds can pick up anyone they want, provided the inmate has a release date.

Marin County may seem an unusual place for such cooperation. While some officials have rebelled against the sanctuary law in conservative parts of the Central Valley and Southern California, Doyle presides over a liberal county in a region known for progressive views on immigration.

This month, the Marin County Board of Supervisors voted to join in defending the state’s sanctuary legislation from a Trump administration lawsuit.

Doyle, though, hopes the legislation is repealed, explaining, “Unfortunately, a lot of laws are made for political reasons, and this is one of them.”

Dennis Rodoni, a Marin County supervisor, said the board and the sheriff aren’t seeing eye to eye on the issue. “We obviously disagree with what the sheriff believes in,” he said.

This is why I think under the current Black Lives Matter push for anti-racism, Doyle, who was forced to change his stance, must resign. He is the just like an old relic of the past- a racist relic, akin to a Robert E. Lee statue.  There is no place in this Bay Area, this county and the State of California for anyone who ever had that attitude and caused that pain.  I repeat, the only way to make amends and be accountable is for Doyle to resign, with immediate effect, especially now that SCOTUS has in effect rubbed his nose in his racist stance!

Marin County Turns out for Truth Act Forum Dec 2018. Photo: Melanie Nathan

SEE the TRUTH ACT ARTICLE  I wrote where Sheriff Doyle taken to task: HERE

The Truth Act, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2016, requires local governing bodies in which local law enforcement has provided ICE access to an individual to hold a community forum to receive and consider public comment. Last night the Marin County Board of Supervisors held such a forum at the Civic Center in San Rafael. Sheriff Robert Doyle, embroiled in accusations of co-operation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), presented his data and his excuses.

Some days before the forum and clearly in a lead up to it, Sheriff Doyle announced that he will no longer release inmate release date information to ICE unless the inmate has been charged with or convicted of a serious or violent crime.

The overwhelming sentiment expressed by the attendees at the Forum was that Doyle refrain from any cooperation with ICE at all and that the Board of Supervisors legislate Marin as a Sanctuary County.

IT WAS ONLY because of public sentiment that Doyle was forced to change his stance. If not for the Truth Act Forums, I have no doubt Doyle would still be defying sanctuary and calling ICE on undocumented parents. In any event had he not made his inept and rather late pivot, he would have now been forced by this Supreme Court decision, today.

My Public Comments at Today’s Board of Supervisors Meeting – June 17, 2020.

Yesterday the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s challenge to California’s sanctuary law, which restricts state and local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration agents.

In noting this momentous decision we MUST reflect on the hardship Marin County’s residents endured at the hands of Sheriff Robert Doyle. Doyle defied this law.

Given the SCOTUS ruling, Sheriff Doyle shines brightly as a relic of a racist and xenophobic past. His determination that HE was not subject to the sanctuary law of California, that the law did not apply – lost through the very same challenge by Trump, and in the Supreme Court of the United States, the ultimate authority.

Doyle  stated categorically in a press interview  “A lot of people think SB54 makes us a sanctuary state. It doesn’t, at all.”

And he then defied the law.

His time over the past 20 plus years as Marin County Sheriff stands akin to relics that ‘must come down:’ Such as the old flags and statues that represent racism.

We cannot allow Doyle to stand at the forefront of our law enforcement during THIS time when policing is called into plain view for its racism, and most especially now in light of the SCOTUS ruling which proves that his stance in defying the California Sanctuary law was illegitimate, and thus highly reflective of his mindset – akin to the Trump racist / xenophobic policy.

We cannot be seen to think that what he did to Marinites back then is remotely okay. Allowing him to remain in office, especially in the face of George Floyd’s murder, coupled with this SCOTUS decision, can only be seen as serving to condone his past!

Doyle showed his true colors all that time ago, when he defied this sanctuary law.

Although his stance  seemingly shifted since the Truth Act Forum – his core has not. That failed leadership on his part, may seem like it is past history, but it is not to the people he hurt – for them the pain and suffering is ongoing.

California had established such law for good reason. Doyle defied it and anyone who fails to call him out at this time is endorsing his breach, his racist behavior and what is now so clearly horrendously failed leadership.

Let’s clean Marin of its old racist relics. Its the very least we can do. Insist on his the resignation of Sheriff Robert Doyle – or if possible FIRE HIM!

Here is the related article on my BLOG.

Thank you

in solidarity

Melanie Nathan
Executive Director
African Human Rights Coalition

Thank you
in solidarity


Follow me on Twitter – @MelanieNathan1
Instagram: Commissionermelnathan
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