Murder case leads to dispute between San Jose and Santa Clara County over ICE policy

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Friction is on the rise between San Jose and Santa Clara County after the arrest of an undocumented homeless man who had been previously deported by ICE. The mayor of San Jose says the county needs to cooperate with ICE to keep violent felons from returning to the streets to commit crimes.

RELATED: ICE, sheriff call for policy change after San Jose mother's brutal murder

Carlos Arevalo Carranza was previously arrested 10 times for crimes in San Jose. The pending charges that he is linked by DNA evidence to the brutal murder of 59-year-old Bambi Larson in her San Jose home has created a hue and cry over the fact he was free on the street when ICE wanted him for possible deportation to his native El Salvador.

"There's never been a court anywhere in this country that has deemed it unconstitutional for the county to pick up the phone to call the federal authorities when they've got a predatory felon who's about to be released in the community," said Mayor Sam Liccardo.

Liccardo is at odds with the county's policy to ignore detention requests from ICE. A former prosecutor, Liccardo has been arguing for a review of the policy for four years.

RELATED: Arrest of suspect in San Jose woman's murder prompts ICE debate

Advocates for immigrant rights at the group SIREN say it's a matter of insuring that the community will feel safe to cooperate with police in dealing with crime.

"Whether you're documented or undocumented, you want to make sure that when you are a victim of a crime or you are a witness of a crime, there aren't other collateral consequences that might result," said Priya Murthy, advocacy and policy director at SIREN.

Supervisor Dave Cortese says the county does cooperate with ICE in cases of violent felons "with complete real-time computer data on who is in our custody and when they will be released. ICE does not show up in a timely manner to avoid release in the community."

RELATED: Police say suspect in murder of SJ woman was deported previously

Because suspect Arevalo-Carranza was homeless, residents of San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood are mobilizing to block the relocation of Hope Village, a homeless community, to their area out of fear it will be a magnet to attract other homeless.

"The sad thing about what happened to Bambi (Larson) could happen to any one of us," said Elizabeth Estensen, board president of the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association.

Arevalo-Carranza remains in custody at the Santa Clara County Jail. He is due in court Thursday afternoon for arraignment.
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