Thank you David. Here is additional information I have provided to people who have reached out to me:
“Although in June I had already decided not to pursue SB 60 even as we moved forward with SB 59, I want to respond to your message with more details and explanation.
SB 60 is, along with SB 59, the product of a task force that met in 2014 and issued recommendations. We passed SB 59 this year. I currently do not plan on bringing SB 60 to a Senate vote next year, and I had made that decision more than a month ago once it became clear that SB 60 codifies the current practice of most (if not all) law enforcement agencies in Delaware.
That practice is as follows: if someone has been processed for any criminal-related activity and is entitled to release (e.g., turns out they picked up the wrong person; or the person made bail; or there is no bail and the person is entitled to release, etc.), then typically he/she is released notwithstanding immigration status. Another way of putting this is: Delaware law enforcement agencies are focused on preventing crime and apprehending criminals that threaten public safety, and the agencies are not an extension of federal immigration officials. Being an extension of immigration officials would cost Delaware law enforcement agencies (and the Delaware public) monies and resources that could be put to better use addressing threats to the Delaware community. I’ll note, though, that under SB 60, if there is a criminal immigration warrant/etc. for the person, then he/she would NOT be released by Delaware law enforcement agencies.
I have spoken with DE law enforcement officials at length, and the major reason they already practice the general framework of SB 60 is because federal immigration officials almost always fail to respond to a request of the DE agency if the undocumented person is not already wanted for (or has not committed) a serious crime. A reason for this: typically, federal immigration officials also are focused on the highest threats to public safety, and they are not going to expend resources on coming to Delaware and taking into custody a single individual who otherwise is not believed to be a threat to public safety. To be clear, I believe our federal immigration laws need to be reformed significantly, and that we do need to secure the border. Here on the ground level in Delaware, however, the focus needs to be on deterring criminal activity and apprehending criminals. DE agencies already do this (for the most part), and that is what SB 60 would codify.
There is a very important consideration that would support the passage of SB 60: a real concern within communities of undocumented Delawareans is that undocumented individuals may hesitate to report crimes for fear of police detaining them simply for being undocumented. This means that victims of domestic abuse might not come forward, and witnesses of child abuse might not come forward. As an entire Delaware community, we should not want these crimes to go unreported, the abusers to go unpunished, and the victims to go unprotected.
So long as the reasonable balance that has already been struck in Delaware continues, and unless we hear more or growing concerns from people who opt not to report crimes out of the fear I mention above, I do not intend to move forward with SB 60.”
Administrator’s note. This post is in multiple formats. In fairness to Senator Townsend, I wanted his response to be available across the board. Obviously, I wish he would strike the bill. At least he does not currently intend to work it. It is the exact opposite approach that we need Serious offenses both felony and misdemeanor should be run through the immigration data base as well as the FBI data base to ensure that whomever it is, is not wanted for other crimes elsewhere. I thank him for being kind enough to respond in a thoughtful fashion. I am all for treating immigrants right. I am not for protecting criminals. See my original commentary here.