California will soon be a 'sanctuary state' for undocumented immigrants

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			Colin McConnell  Toronto Star  Getty

"Given their limited resources, I agree that state and local law enforcement should not be doing the jobs of federal immigration agents".

The bill, which was passed in the senate by a 27-11 margin and cleared the assembly 51-26, limits the ways state and local law enforcement agencies can cooperate and communicate with federal immigration officers. The bill also prohibits police and sheriff officers from inquiring about a person's immigration status.

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.

The bill's Democratic author, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, said he wrote the legislation in response to President Trump's promise to step up deportations of people in the country illegally.

"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.

"With SB 54, California will meaningfully improve state law to keep families together and communities whole-and not a moment too soon as the Trump administration continues its draconian and indiscriminate crackdown on immigrants".

The bill is now headed to Governor Brown's Desk for his final approval and signature. The legislation would also permit police and sheriffs to share information and transfer people to immigration authorities if they have been convicted of one or more crimes from a list of 800 outlined in a previous law, the California Trust Act. "The only thing this bill provides a sanctuary for is unsafe criminals", said Assemblyman James Gallagher, a Republican from Nicolaus.

The California State Assembly passed a package of housing bills Thursday night, potentially appropriating billions for affordable housing development and rewriting the way California cities manage new development. Brown announced his support for the measure after reaching an agreement with the de León's office earlier this week. Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, said the bill would create "only a sanctuary for criminals".

Democrats say the bill will help ensure that immigrants feel safe reporting crimes to law enforcement.

"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.

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