On Tuesday, in direct defiance of President Trump’s controversial immigration policies, California moved one step closer to becoming a Sanctuary State.
Senate Bill 54, popularly identified as the Sanctuary State Bill, will prevent state and local law enforcement agencies from using their resources—including money, facility, property, equipment or personnel—to help with immigration enforcement.
Strongly opposed by the state’s law enforcement agencies, the legislation which passed the senate 27 t0 12, would also prohibit these agencies from asking about an individual’s immigration status; giving federal immigration authorities access to interview a person in custody; or, from assisting federal authorities with immigration enforcement. The bill will also limit immigration enforcement activities at schools, court houses and other public settings.
To help assure the bill’s passage, Senate President Pro-Tem, Kevin de Leon amended it to allow state and local law enforcement to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents before a convicted, serious or violent felon is released from custody.
When commenting about the bill deLeon stressed, “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 [or] mothers from their children.” He concluded, “That’s not who we are as a great state.”
Senator Jeff Stone (R-Temecula), broadly disagreed with the bill and told members of legislative body, “By passing this today you’ll be kicking the president right in the groin and I can imagine he’s going to strike back.”
One of Trump’s first actions as the nation’s newly sworn-in President was to sign an executive order that threatened to withhold as much as $1.4 billion federal grants from jurisdictions that prevent local officials from communicating with federal authorities regarding an individual’s immigration status.
Late last month, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also weighed in on the immigration issue when he said, "Such policies cannot continue. They make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on our streets." Sessions further assured that the Justice Department would take steps to "claw back" grants already awarded to non-compliant cities [jurisdictions] as well.
When SB54 becomes law, California will have some of the strongest immigration protections in the nation.