In a strong rebuke of the Trump administration's immigration policy, the state of California on Thursday became a so-called "sanctuary state", limiting who the state and local law enforcement agencies can detain and transfer on behalf of the federal immigration agency.
Senate Bill 54, by Senate Leader Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, aims to prevent local law enforcement officers from assisting with a promised crackdown on illegal immigration by restricting communication between local officers and federal agents about people in custody, with the exception of those convicted of most felonies within the past 15 years.
To view the full article, register now. The new law will advance protections for immigrants in communities across the state, ending a number of shameful local deportation practices altogether and setting limits on other abuses.
It prohibits jails from complying with federal requests to hold onto immigrants past their release dates - a mechanism that has been ruled unconstitutional - and says they can not notify federal authorities about planned release dates unless the suspect in question has committed a serious or violent crime.
Federal immigration officers are "free to use their own considerable resources" when enforcing federal law in the state.
California's Democratic political leaders have enthusiastically battled Trump and his administration with lawsuits, legislation and fiery public rhetoric, particularly about immigration and the environment.More news: Can Catalonia declare independence from Spain?
Brown signed the bill entitled the "California Values Act" and released a signing statement. "And I hope that California will push back on their governor's, I think, irresponsible decision moving forward".
Since Trump was elected U.S. president, there have been three different ballot initiatives that would require the state Legislature to ask Congress for a federal constitutional convention in order to make California an independent state.
Senate Bill 54, which takes effect in January, has been hailed as part of a broader effort by majority Democrats in the California Legislature to shield more than 2.3 million immigrants living illegally in the state.
Among other things, the other bills signed Thursday by Brown will limit federal immigration authorities from entering schools and workplaces without warrants; prohibit landlords from reporting tenants to ICE; and stop local governments from contracting with for-profit companies and ICE to hold immigrants.
California is home to an estimated 2.3 million immigrants without legal authorization.