Albuquerque Journal

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


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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