Sanctuary state bill gets approval from CA Assembly

Marsha Scott
September 17, 2017

The legislation is the latest effort by Democratic lawmakers in California, home to an estimated 2.3 million immigrants without legal authorization, to create barriers to President Donald Trump's campaign pledge to step up deportation efforts. Under the bill, local and state officers can not ask about a person's immigration status or be deputized as immigration agents.

The bill also gives protections to inmates who are immigrants, allowing them to reduce their sentences by completing educational or rehabilitation programs, and ensures that schools, hospitals, libraries, and courthouses remain safe spaces for undocumented immigrants.

Senate Bill 54 was approved Saturday with a 27-11 vote, after it was drastically changed from the first versions introduced. Jerry Brown for signature. Kevin de Leon, the most far-reaching of its kind in the country, would limit state and local law enforcement communication with federal immigration authorities, and prevent officers from questioning and holding people on immigration violations.

"It's a purposeful positioning", said political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a senior fellow at the University of Southern California.

After talks with Brown, amendments to the bill made this week would allow federal immigration authorities to keep working with state corrections officials and to continue entering county jails to question immigrants.

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Law enforcement, including jail officers, will still be able to work with federal immigration authorities if a person has been convicted of one of some 800 crimes, mostly felonies and misdemeanors that can be charged as felonies. The compromise helped shift the Police Chiefs Association's stance to "neutral".

The bill faced some opposition, including from the California State Sheriffs' Association.

California's three investor-owned utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, said the bill does not protect customers from the cost of switching from fossil fuels.

It came a day after a federal judge barred the U.S. Justice Department from denying public-safety grants to so-called sanctuary cities in retaliation for limiting cooperation with the Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigration.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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