Sandra Hutchens
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. Image from department video

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is challenging California’s new sanctuary law by providing public information on when undocumented inmates are released from custody.

As of Monday an existing “Who’s in Jail” online database includes the date and time of inmates’ release — a move agency officials say will enhance communication with its law enforcement partners.

The release date information applies to all inmates, not just those who are suspected of being in the country illegally. But the goal is to assist agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

And on Tuesday night, the

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens opposes the state’s new sanctuary law that limits cooperation with federal immigration officials and has directed her staff to respond to ICE requests whenever legally possible.

“SB 54 makes local law enforcement’s job more difficult and requires bureaucratic processes that could allow dangerous individuals to fall through the cracks of our justice system,” she said in a statement. “My department, however, remains committed to cooperating fully with federal authorities in all areas where I have discretion to remove serious criminals from our community.”

Opposition to the law has been growing in historically conservative Orange County. Last week the tiny city of Los Alamitos opted out, and on Tuesday the Orange County Board of Supervisors will consider a lawsuit challenging the sanctuary cities law.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.