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California senator proposes immigration holds on felons in country illegally

California senator proposes immigration holds on felons in country illegally
State Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Murrieta).Stone was the only Republican to vote for the two biggest anti-tobacco bills: One to increase the legal smoking age from 18 to 21, the other to regulate nicotine-laced electronic cigarettes like tobacco. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Outraged by the recent killings of two California women allegedly by immigrants in the country illegally, a state lawmaker has proposed legislation to require law enforcement agencies to notify immigration officials of the pending release of any convicted felon improperly in the U.S.

Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Murrieta) said Thursday he would introduce the bill in response to the recent slayings of Marilyn Pharis, 64, in Santa Maria and Kathryn Steinle, 32, in San Francisco.

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Pharis was raped, tortured and killed on July 24, allegedly by Aureliano Martinez Ramirez, 29, and another man. Ramirez is in the country illegally and was released from jail just days before the attack. Stone also cited the shooting death, weeks earlier, of Steinle, allegedly by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a seven-time felon who was in the country illegally and had been deported five times.

"This has got to stop," Stone said. "If police and sheriff's departments were to notify immigration officials before they released these dangerous criminals, murders like these would not take place."

Stone's bill would require notification of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and holding of the convicted felon for an additional 48 hours to allow ICE officials to determine whether federal prosecution or deportation is warranted.

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