California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Thursday officially making California a sanctuary state.
The Senate Bill 54 will take effect in January and it limits the local police department’s cooperation with federal immigration officers.
In simpler terms, it helps protect illegal immigrants.
"These are uncertain times for undocumented Californians and their families," said Brown. "This bill strikes a balance that will protect public safety while bringing a measure of comfort to those families who are now living in fear every day."
The bill encourages state and local departments to disregard federal immigration policies.
“Specifically, it bans state and local agencies, excluding the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, from enforcing "holds" on people in custody. It blocks the deputization of police as immigration agents and bars state and local law enforcement agencies from inquiring into an individual's immigration status,” writes NPR.
“It also prohibits new or expanded contracts with federal agencies to use California law enforcement facilities as detention centers, although it does not force the termination of existing contracts – including Orange County's $22 million annual contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).”
The bill passed through both the California chambers. Almost all Democrats supported the bill, while no Republicans voted in support.
SB 54 not only protects illegal immigrants, but considers them valuable and essential members of the communities in California. Supporters of the bill believe it will create more trust between immigrants and local authorities.
But this is at the cost of the safety of the legal citizens in the state.
This is just the latest defiant move by California in response to the Trump administration’s immigration policy.
"The California Values Act won't stop ICE from trolling our streets. It will not provide full sanctuary. But it will put a kink – a large kink – in Trump's perverse and inhumane deportation machine," said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who introduced the bill. "California is building a wall – a wall of justice – against President Trump's xenophobic, racist and ignorant immigration policies."
De León has denounced Trump’s immigration policies as “racist and xenophobic.”
“California’s local law enforcement cannot be commandeered and used by the Trump Administration to tear families apart, undermine our safety, and wreak havoc on our economy,” said De León at a news conference in LA.
The SB 54 has received tremendous pushback from lawmakers who argue that the bill is biased and protects only a segment of the state.
"The State of California has now codified a commitment to returning criminal aliens back onto our streets, which undermines public safety, national security, and law enforcement," said Devin O'Malley, Justice Department spokesman in a statement. "Given the multiple high-profile incidents that have occurred in California in recent years, it is especially disappointing that state leaders have made it law to limit cooperation between local jurisdictions and immigration authorities attempting to keep Californians safe.
In the past, the Trump administration has threatened to remove federal funding in response and has called the governor’s recent actions as “irresponsible.”
"The president will be laying out his responsible immigration plan over the next week and I hope that California will push back on their governor’s, I think, irresponsible decision moving forward," said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Press Secretary to the Times.
Author’s note: Why are California lawmakers more interested in protecting illegal immigrants who are breaking U.S. law than the law abiding citizens? This evidently won’t pay off.