State Legislators pass bill to make California a 'sanctuary state'


The California Legislature Saturday passed a "sanctuary state" bill to protect immigrants without legal residency in the US, part of a broader push by Democrats to counter expanded deportation orders under the Trump administration.

The bill, known as SB54, bans law enforcement officials from asking about the immigration status of people under arrest, and prevents local police from being "deputized as immigration agents", The Associated Press reports.

State legislators approved a measure early Saturday morning that would make California a sanctuary state.

The California Values Act would not necessarily make California the country's first "sanctuary state".

"I know, from speaking to hundreds of victims of crimes, witnesses of crimes, that if you're a victim or a witness, it's hard to trust working with law enforcement if you think there's a chance that your immigration status might be passed along to the federal government", he said.

The approval would send it for a signature from Brown, who announced his support this week after the top Senate leader, the bill's author, agreed to water it down and preserve authority for jail and prison officials to cooperate with immigration officers in many cases.

"This comes as a relief that there are some legislators that are really listening", Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, told CBS. "The only thing this bill provides a sanctuary for is risky criminals", said Assemblyman James Gallagher, a Republican from Nicolaus.

The compromise moved the California Police Chiefs Association's position on the bill opposed to neutral.

As lawmakers considered the bill Friday another high-profile killing in San Francisco spotlighted the sanctuary issue. The bill-which Wiener introduced the skeleton of mere hours after his Sacramento swearing-in last year-would essentially force California cities to approve a certain amount of new housing each year, one way or another. Immigration and Customs Enforcement disclosed that two weeks ago, before 18-year-old Erick Garcia-Pineda was a murder suspect, the San Francisco Sheriff's Department denied a request to hold him until federal authorities could take him into custody for deportation proceedings. The Sheriffs' Association is still against the bill.