In early October 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that would vastly limit who state and local law enforcement agencies can hold, question and transfer at the request of federal immigration authorities. The bill, Senate Bill 54, will take effect in January, making California a “sanctuary state.”
Opponents of the bill have blasted it as “unconscionable,” including U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The bill contributes to an ongoing national debate on how much authority cities and states have when creating policy to prevent local officers from enforcing federal immigration law. Gov. Brown, in a signing message in support of the bill, noted that the bill does not actually prevent or prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from doing their jobs. President Trump’s immigration chief disagrees, saying it would hinder federal agents in their work and lead to at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at work sites.
What SB 54 Does and Does Not Do
There are over 2 million estimated illegal immigrants in the state of California alone. SB 54 prohibits law enforcement agents from asking about a person’s immigration status as well as participating in any program that uses them as immigration agents. The bill does not prevent immigration agents from interviewing inmates in jails and does allow ICE access to law enforcement databases. The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is exempt from many of these restrictions. Local law enforcement will also have access to an expanded amount of criminal conviction types to share and transfer.
The bill is likely to face legal challenges from opponents.
Sweta Khandelwal is located in San Jose, CA, and she has helped many deserving immigrants achieve their goal of becoming US residents/citizens. Contact the the Law Offices of Sweta Khandelwal today.