California responds to Trump immigration policies
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In light of Trump’s new policies regarding illegal immigrants, California lawmakers have wasted no time in taking the first steps towards creating bills that will protect the state’s large population of undocumented immigrants and prevent local law enforcement agencies from enforcing federal immigration law.
The state Legislature passed two bills, Senate Bill 54 and Senate Bill 31, aimed at curbing Trump’s new policies, which include a variety of immigration-enforcement policies such as stripping funding from sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with the new laws and constructing a U.S.-Mexico border wall according to ABC News.
SB 54 prohibits local law enforcement or other agencies from acting as immigration enforcement agents, meaning that law enforcement personnel cannot question people about their immigration status or share private, state-held information regarding an individual’s immigration status for enforcement purposes. However, it does not prevent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, from enforcing the new immigration laws. SB 31 was created in response to Trump’s call for a national Muslim registry. It prevents state law enforcement from partaking in the creation of any database that registers individuals according to their religion, national origin, or ethnicity.
SB 54 passed through with a 5-2 vote, those who opposed it, State Sens. Jeff Stone and Joel Anderson, said that they were concerned that the bill would interfere with local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal agencies in investigating organized crime cases. He also said that the new bills would essentially turn California into a sanctuary state, which would put the state at risk for loosing its much needed federal funding..
While many organizations have come out in strong support for Trump’s new policies, such as the Fraternal Order of Police and unions representing ICE and Border Patrol agents, California law enforcement appears divided over the issue.
Lobbyist for California State Sheriffs’ Association Cory Salzillo voiced his concerns regarding SB 54 saying there was concern that it would impede law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with partners such as Joint Terrorism Task Forces and the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force.
Additionally, there is the fear that the state will lose access to federal funding, resources, and prosecutors for organized crime and trafficking cases as reported by The Intercept.
However, leader of the California Senate Kevin De León claims that SB 54, which he drafted, will not jeopardize any of these factors. During the Senate committee hearings, the chair of the Public Safety Committee, Sen. Nancy Skinner, made one of the most forceful statements of the proceedings regarding Trump’s actions saying, “We are making it clear that the state of California will not be complicit with authoritarian policies.”