01/27/2014 09:41 am ET Updated Mar 29, 2014

Secure Communities: Why Does the Kern County Sheriff Defy the Law?

Do law enforcement officials such as Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood get to choose the laws they will or will not enforce? California last year passed the Trust Act, limiting state cooperation with a federal program that gives U.S. immigration authorities access to fingerprints take by local police. Under the so-called Secure Communities program, the federal government screens those who are arrested for their immigration status and requests local police agencies to hold those who are found to be undocumented. California's legislature and governor enacted the Trust Act in the face of the Obama administration's stepped-up deportation of undocumented immigrants and the blocking of bipartisan immigration reform by House Republications.

Sheriff Youngblood is boldly defying state law, an odd stand by a law enforcement officer sworn to uphold the law. The sheriff's position doesn't encourage confidence in him by the Latino community and many others in Kern County. Of course, this wouldn't be a problem if House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield and the rest of the Republican leadership in the House were doing their jobs by fixing our broken and unjust immigration system by allowing a vote on the bipartisan bill passed last June by the U.S. Senate. The agricultural provisions of the Senate bill that the UFW negotiated with the nation's growers would free as many as 1 million undocumented farm workers from the chains of abuse and discrimination.