California Becomes a Sanctuary

  • 10/05/2017
  • Reporters Desk

SACRAMENTO — On Oct. 5, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a legislation that would limit state and local enforcement agencies in holding, questioning and transferring undocumented immigrants at the request of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Senate Bill 54, dubbed the sanctuary state law, takes effect in January of 2018. It is estimated that more than 2.3 million immigrants live in California.

The new law will prohibit state and local agencies from using resources to aid immigration agents unless the people in question have been convicted of one or more of 800 crimes. Immigration agents may still enter county jails and question immigrants, but personal information available to those agents would be limited.

The federal government may is expected to try to block the law before it goes into effect.
About 35 municipalities in the state have taken on the “sanctuary” label to protect undocumented immigrants. While the sanctuary label may provide law enforcement the ability to use its resources to fight real crime and provide some relief for undocumented families, it is important to note that federal officials may still capture and deport people at their homes and workplaces.

The signing follows a series of actions by Brown and his administration to bolster resources and support for the immigrant community. The governor also signed:

  • Assembly Bill 21 by Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) – Public postsecondary education: Access to Higher Education for Every Student.
  • AB 291 by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) – Housing: immigration.
    AB 299 by Assemblyman Ian C. Calderon (D-Whittier) – Hiring of real property: immigration or citizenship status.
  • AB 343 by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) – Public postsecondary education: holders of certain special immigrant visas.
  • AB 450 by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) – Employment regulation: immigration worksite enforcement actions.
  • AB 699 by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) – Educational equity: immigration and citizenship status.
  • Senate Bill 29 by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) – Law enforcement: immigration.
    SB 68 by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) – Public postsecondary education: exemption from nonresident tuition.
  • SB 156 by Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) – Military and veterans: transition assistance: citizenship.
  • SB 257 by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) – School admissions: pupil residency: pupils of departed parents: residents of adjoining state or foreign country: school district reimbursement.

Since taking office, Governor Brown has signed the California Dream Act, which allows top students who are on the path to citizenship to apply for college financial aid and AB 60, which extends the legal right to drive on the state’s roadways to millions more Californians. The governor has also signed legislation to help fund legal services for unaccompanied minors arriving in California from Central America as well as legal services to assist immigrants seeking naturalization and deportation defense; legislation to extend health care coverage and other protections to undocumented children in the state; and a number of other bills to enhance protections for immigrants.

In 2016, Brown  appointed a director of immigrant integration to serve as the statewide lead for coordinating immigrant services and monitoring the implementation of immigration assistance programs. In September, Brown signed legislation to provide $30 million in financial aid for immigrant students and legal services for young people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status and the administration launched the California Immigrant Guide website to help connect immigrants with resources and services provided by the state.

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