California Senate Republican Leader Responds to Legislature's Approval of "Sanctuary State" Bill

Frederick Owens
September 17, 2017

Under the bill, local and state officers can not ask about a person's immigration status or be deputized as immigration agents. Many, they said, have been afraid to go to school or to take their sick children to the hospital since President Donald Trump - who promised widespread deportations as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration - has been president.

"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. "This is a message, no doubt, to Washington, D.C., that we will protect the hardworking people of our communities". What emerged was SB 54, described by advocates in its original form as the best sanctuary legislation they'd seen in decades.

California's "Sanctuary State" bill limits the sharing of information between local police and federal immigration agents.

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

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. The compromise helped shift the Police Chiefs Association's stance to "neutral". The California Sheriffs' Association continues to oppose it.

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The legislature also passed a package of bills aimed at increasing the availability of affordable housing in the notoriously expensive state, and approved a plan for spending $1.5 billion in income from the state's cap-and-trade air quality program, which raises money by selling businesses limited rights to emit pollutants. The bill would take effect January 1.

Homan says if the governor signs the legislation it will "make California communities less safe".

In an emotional debate that brought lawmakers on both sides to tears, supporters said the law is needed now more than ever.

The organization put out a release earlier this week, saying that "California's front-line law enforcement officers do not now engage in, and have no intention of engaging in, immigration enforcement in the field".

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