California Moves Forward Statewide Sanctuary Bill

Credit:DustyPixel
Credit:DustyPixel

(ESPAÑOL) California lawmakers gave initial approval Monday to a measure that prevents law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials, a measure which makes California a statewide sanctuary for many people who are in the country illegally.

The bill, SB54, advanced after Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Democrat from Los Angeles, amended it to let state and local law enforcement notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement federal agents before convicted serious or violent felons are released from custody.

The statewide sanctuary bill would bar police and sheriffs from arresting or detaining people just for immigration violations unless a judge issues a warrant. De Leon’s recent amendments also make it easier for local law enforcement to hand over criminals to federal immigration officials if they were previously deported for a violent felony.

The measure also seeks to limit immigration enforcement activities in schools, courthouses and other public facilities.

“We will cooperate with our friends at the federal level with serious and violent felons. But we won’t cooperate or lift a finger or spend a single cent when we’re talking about separating children from their mothers, mothers from their children,” de Leon said. “That’s not who we are as a great state.”

Trump in January signed an order threatening to withdraw federal grants from jurisdictions that bar officials from communicating with federal authorities about someone’s immigration status.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and other supporters said the bill would give California some of the nation’s strongest anti-deportation protections.

Lawmakers in the nation’s most populous state also advanced two other bills that attempt to impede the president’s immigration policies. They sent the Assembly a bill, SB6, that would provide $12 million to pay lawyers for immigrants facing deportation, and another measure, SB31, that would bar state officials from sharing data if the federal government creates a Muslim registry.