Calif Dems ap­prove sanc­tu­ary state bill

AG can’t deny grant money

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

SACRAMENTO, Cal­i­for­nia, Sept 16, (AP): Cal­i­for­nia Democrats ap­proved a “sanc­tu­ary state” bill Satur­day that would limit how lo­cal and state po­lice can in­ter­act with fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion agents.

The bill is in­tended to bol­ster im­mi­grant pro­tec­tions in the state that are al­ready among the tough­est in the na­tion.

It will now be con­sid­ered by Gov who an­nounced his sup­port af­ter the top state Se­nate leader agreed to water down the bill and pre­serve author­ity for jail and prison of­fi­cials to co­op­er­ate with im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers in many cases.

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. They’ve also ap­proved money for le­gal as­sis­tance and col­lege schol­ar­ships for peo­ple liv­ing il­le­gally in the US, and made it harder for busi­nesses and gov­ern­ment agen­cies to dis­close peo­ple’s im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus.

Cal­i­for­nia law­mak­ers are de­bat­ing the mea­sure as the US Congress con­sid­ers of­fer­ing le­gal sta­tus to young im­mi­grants whose par­ents brought them into the coun­try il­le­gally or over­stayed their visas.

“This comes as a re­lief that there are some leg­is­la­tors that are re­ally lis­ten­ing,” said Pablo Al­varado, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Day La­borer Or­ga­niz­ing Net­work.

The mea­sure cleared the Leg­is­la­ture with sup­port only from Democrats over the ob­jec­tion of Repub­li­cans who it will pro­tect crim­i­nals and make it harder for law-en­force­ment to keep peo­ple safe.

Se­nate Pres­i­dent Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los An­ge­les, in­tro­duced SB54 shortly af­ter Trump’s elec­tion to cut off most in­ter­ac­tions be­tween fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion agents and lo­cal po­lice and sher­iff’s of­fi­cers. Fol­low­ing sharp dis­sent from law en­force­ment of­fi­cials and Brown’s in­ter­ven­tion, it was scaled back sig­nif­i­cantly.




The fi­nal ver­sion pro­hibits law en­force­ment of­fi­cials from ask­ing about a per­son’s im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus or par­tic­i­pat­ing in im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment ef­forts. It also pro­hibits law en­force­ment of­fi­cials from be­ing dep­u­tized as im­mi­gra­tion agents or ar­rest­ing peo­ple on civil im­mi­gra­tion war­rants.

Po­lice and sher­iff’s of­fi­cials, 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. But they’ll be barred from trans­fer­ring im­mi­grants to fed­eral author­i­ties if their rap sheet in­cludes only mi­nor of­fenses.

Im­mi­gra­tion ad­vo­cates gen­er­ally ap­plauded the lat­est ver­sion, even with de Leon’s con­ces­sions. For them, the bill de­liv­ers a rare vic­tory dur­ing Trump’s pres­i­dency, pre­serv­ing some pro­tec­tions for peo­ple in the coun­try il­le­gally and adding oth­ers.

The bill will pre­vent lo­cal po­lice from be­com­ing “cogs in the Trump de­por­ta­tion ma­chine,” de Leon said.

Cal­i­for­nia po­lice chiefs dropped their op­po­si­tion but sher­iffs, who run jails where the big­gest im­pacts will be felt, re­main op­posed.

“In my view this bill’s go­ing to make us less safe,” said Assem­bly­man Jor­dan Cun­ning­ham, R-Tem­ple­ton. “It’s go­ing to pro­tect the crim­i­nal at the ex­pense of the law abid­ing cit­i­zen.”

The changes did not mol­lify US Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment Act­ing Di­rec­tor Thomas Ho­man, who said the bill will de­lib­er­ately de­struct im­mi­gra­tion laws and shel­ter crim­i­nals.

“If Cal­i­for­nia politi­cians pass this bill, they will be pri­or­i­tiz­ing pol­i­tics over the safety and se­cu­rity of their con­stituents,” Ho­man said in a state­ment this week.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral can’t fol­low through — at least for now — with his threat to with­hold public safety grant money to Chicago and other so-called sanc­tu­ary cities for re­fus­ing to im­pose new tough im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies, a judge ruled Fri­day in a le­gal de­feat for the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

In what is at least a tem­po­rary vic­tory for cities that have de­fied Ses­sions, US Dis­trict Judge

ruled that the Jus­tice De­part­ment could not im­pose the re­quire­ments.

He said the city had shown a “like­li­hood of suc­cess” in ar­gu­ing that Ses­sions ex­ceeded his author­ity with the new con­di­tions. Among them are re­quire­ments that cities no­tify im­mi­gra­tion agents when some­one in the coun­try il­le­gally is about to be re­leased from lo­cal jails and to al­low agents ac­cess to the jails.

Chicago Mayor called the rul­ing a vic­tory for cities, coun­ties and states na­tion­wide and “a clear state­ment that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is wrong.”

“It means es­sen­tial re­sources for public safety will not come with un­law­ful strings at­tached, and the Trump jus­tice de­part­ment can­not con­tinue to co­erce us into vi­o­lat­ing and aban­don­ing our val­ues,” Emanuel said.

The city had asked the judge for a “na­tion­wide” tem­po­rary in­junc­tion this week, ask­ing the judge not to al­low the Jus­tice De­part­ment to im­pose the re­quire­ments un­til the city’s law­suit against the de­part­ment plays out in court.

City of­fi­cials have said such a rul­ing would pre­vent the Jus­tice De­part­ment from with­hold­ing what are called Ed­ward Byrne Me­mo­rial Jus­tice As­sis­tance Grants to the cities based on their re­fusal to take the steps Ses­sions or­dered.

Chicago has ap­plied for $2.2 mil­lion in the fed­eral grant money — $1.5 mil­lion for the city and the rest for Cook County and 10 other sub­urbs. But in a re­cent court hear­ing, at­tor­neys rep­re­sent­ing the city said that more than 30 other ju­ris­dic­tions across the United States filed court briefs sup­port­ing Chicago’s law­suit and have up to $35 mil­lion in grants at stake.

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