Cal­i­for­nia passes sanc­tu­ary bill

Mea­sure boost­ing pro­tec­tions for im­mi­grants heads to Brown

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - NEVADA & THE WEST - By Jonathan J. Cooper

SACRA­MENTO, Calif. — Cal­i­for­nia law­mak­ers ap­proved a “sanc­tu­ary state” bill on Satur­day that would put new re­stric­tions on in­ter­ac­tions be­tween lo­cal law en­force­ment and fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion author­i­ties, draw­ing the ire of fed­eral of­fi­cials who ar­gued the leg­is­la­tion pri­or­i­tizes politics over pub­lic safety.

The bill, known as SB54, is in­tended to bol­ster the state’s im­mi­grant pro­tec­tions, which are al­ready among the tough­est in the nation.

The leg­is­la­tion will now be con­sid­ered by Gov. Jerry Brown, 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 U.S., and made it harder for busi­nesses and gov­ern­ment agen­cies to dis­close peo­ple’s im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus.

Cal­i­for­nia law­mak­ers are de­bat­ing the mea­sure as the U.S. 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 say 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 pro­hibits law en­force­ment of­fi­cials from be­ing dep­u­tized as im­mi­gra­tion agents or ar­rest­ing peo­ple on civil im­mi­gra­tion war­rants.

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

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