Commentary: Sacramento sheriff has interesting take on immigration

The Sacramento BeeOctober 26, 2009 

Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel is not an immigration rights advocate.

He supports maintaining strong borders. And he has no sympathy for undocumented felons.

"If you're a serious criminal, we're going to use every law — local, state and federal — to get you off the street," Braziel said last week.

But based on nearly 30 years as a cop, Braziel believes that confusing immigration laws are hindering cops and helping criminals.

Too many undocumented immigrants who are victims or witnesses to crimes are avoiding police for fear they'll be deported, Braziel and other cops say. This allows criminals to prey on innocent people.

Braziel wants the federal government to provide direction on getting driver's licenses — or some form of ID — to millions of undocumented immigrants.

"There has to be a way to do that," Braziel said. Without identification, too many drivers take the roads without insurance in Sacramento. And woe to the poor souls involved in crashes with them.

What Braziel espouses is not a radical viewpoint. But that doesn't matter.

Simply taking a common-sense stance on immigration gets you hate mail, as Braziel and others learned last week when they waded into an issue ruled by strident voices.

To read the complete column, visit

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