In California, more than two million undocumented immigrants and their families wait anxiously as Governor Jerry Brown hedges over signing groundbreaking Sanctuary State legislation.
Senate Bill 54, championed by state senate leader Kevin de León, successfully passed through both state houses, but has unceremoniously stalled on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature. While Brown has a track record of being opposed to sanctuary state legislation, he did not reject the bill outright.
The legislation would prohibit law enforcement agencies from using their resources to investigate, detain, report, or arrest persons merely for immigration enforcement. Brown is currently considering modifications to the legislation in part, it appears, to pacify the California State Sheriffs Association that is lobbying for modifications.
Brown, who met with the Sheriffs Association, expressed his belief the legislation in its current format would provide sanctuary to criminals and endanger the public. Also, according to Brown, it would allow many violent criminals to return to local communities and prey on the immigrant population there.
Through the legislative process, de León worked with Republican lawmakers and sheriffs up and down the state regarding how to reconcile the issues of immigration, sanctuary status and the release of violent felons.
As currently written, SB 54 allows officers to share information with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding inmates in their custody if they were previously deported for a violent felony or previously convicted of a violent felony and currently serving time on a misdemeanor. Still, the Sheriffs Association believes those guidelines are too narrow and want greater communication between ICE and state or local law enforcement agencies regarding such suspects in custody.