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INTERVIEW: Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones Discusses Motivation Behind Run For Congress

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones announced on Monday that he will challenge Democratic incumbent Rep. Ami Bera.

SAM SHANE: Let's start off with what's going on in Syria, what's going on in Paris and with regards to President [Barack] Obama, because your platform will center around immigration. Mr. Obama and his administration have now said they would like to welcome some 100,000 Syrian refugees by 2017, and on Friday he was he would consider ISIL to be contained.

Now today, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein had a whole new take on what Mr. Obama has said. And she said, "I have never been more concerned. ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding. In your estimation, who is right here?

SCOTT JONES: I think the senator is right. I think clearly this demonstrates this administration does not have a fundamental understanding of what ISIS is or what they're capable of, or what they're doing, let alone a strategy to win this so-called War on Terror. As it is now, we are losing this war.

SHANE: You said today in your press conference one of the reasons you decided to run was to base your platform on immigration, and it had to do with the death of a deputy, Danny Oliver. Tell us the backstory on this and why it moved you to run for Congress.

JONES: Well, I can tell you that it is many issues all around public safety, so ISIL and foreign threats and domestic. But on the immigration issue, we had deputy Danny Oliver and Det. Mike Davis from Placer County killed last year by someone who we found out—in fact we couldn't identify him for several days—but once we did, we found out he'd been removed from this country on four prior occasions—two deportations and two other removals, each without any consequences whatsoever. That's when immigration reform became a particular focus and passion of mine.

SHANE: Immigration reform is a focus and passion for [presidential candidate] Donald Trump, and he has had a lot of success with that one topic. But my question for you is California is a different zebra with different stripes, This is a blue state, it is a much more liberal state. Why do you think that message would resonate here?

JONES: Well, look, there's a couple of components of immigration reform. There is securing our borders, which I think especially after Friday's attacks in Paris where we now know terrorists have embedded themselves with some of the refugee immigrants into western Europe and other places. I think we should be beyond the question whether we should take control of our borders and know who exactly is going in and out of our country.

SHANE: One thing I want to get in here, because this was really startling what I heard from you during your news conference today is that you indicated that you believe that there are 25 Syrian refugees living in Sacramento County and you don't even know who they are.

JONES: And I only believe that, because that's what I was told by the media. Look, we have a long, storied history in America about accepting refugees from various difficult situations in their home country, and we shouldn't stop now. But, that presupposes that we need to have a level of confidence in the federal government's ability to vet them. I am one of the host agencies for our regional terrorism threat assessment center, I am the chair of the Central California Intelligence Committee, and if I don't know who they are or if they're even here, I can guarantee you the 1.5 million people in Sacramento County don't know either. I don't know if it's education, if I need to get more educated about the vetting process, or the federal government has to give greater assurances to the people about the vetting process. I don't know what the solution is, but I can tell you that if I'm concerned, and I'm charged with the safety of everybody in this county, then they need to stand up and take notice that it's not unreasonable that everyone else is concerned.

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