‘Sanc­tu­ary state’ mea­sure OK’d by Calif. leg­is­la­tors

Albuquerque Journal - - NATION - LOS AN­GE­LES TIMES

SACRA­MENTO, Calif. — The Cal­i­for­nia Leg­is­la­ture on Satur­day passed a “sanc­tu­ary state” bill to pro­tect im­mi­grants with­out le­gal res­i­dency in the U.S., part of a broader push by Democrats to counter ex­panded de­por­ta­tion or­ders un­der the Trump administration.

The leg­is­la­tion by Demo­cratic state Sen. Kevin de Leon, the most far­reach­ing 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.

Af­ter de­bate in both houses of the Leg­is­la­ture, staunch op­po­si­tion from Repub­li­can sher­iffs and threats from Trump administration of­fi­cials against sanc­tu­ary cities, the bill was ap­proved on a 27-11 vote along party lines. But the bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown dras­ti­cally scaled back the ver­sion first in­tro­duced, the re­sult of ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Brown and De Leon in the fi­nal weeks of the leg­isla­tive ses­sion.

On the Senate floor min­utes be­fore 2 a.m. Satur­day, De Leon said the changes were rea­son­able and re­flected a pow­er­ful com­pro­mise be­tween law en­force­ment of­fi­cials and ad­vo­cates.

“These amend­ments do not mean to erode the core mis­sion of this mea­sure, which is to pro­tect hard­work­ing fam­i­lies that have con­trib­uted greatly to our cul­ture and the econ­omy,” he said.

The Cal­i­for­nia Val­ues Act would at first have pro­hib­ited state and lo­cal law en­force­ment agen­cies from us­ing any re­sources to hold, ques­tion or share in­for­ma­tion about peo­ple with fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion agents, un­less they had vi­o­lent or se­ri­ous crim­i­nal con­vic­tions.

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. The leg­is­la­tion would also per­mit po­lice and sher­iffs to share in­for­ma­tion and trans­fer peo­ple to im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties if they have been con­victed of one or more crimes from a list of 800 out­lined in a pre­vi­ous law, the Cal­i­for­nia Trust Act.

Some im­mi­grant rights ad­vo­cates who were pre­vi­ously dis­ap­pointed with the list of of­fenses un­der the Trust Act, were dis­mayed to see the same ex­cep­tions ap­plied in the so-called sanc­tu­ary state bill. The list in­cludes many vi­o­lent and se­ri­ous crimes, as well as some non­vi­o­lent charges and “wob­blers,” of­fenses that can be charged as felonies or mis­de­meanors, which ad­vo­cates said has the po­ten­tial to en­snare peo­ple who do not pose a dan­ger to the pub­lic.

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