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California Governor Signs 'Sanctuary State' Bill

Protesters rally outside of City Hall in San Francisco on January 25, 2017.
Jeff Chiu AP
Protesters rally outside of City Hall in San Francisco on January 25, 2017.

California Governor Signs 'Sanctuary State' Bill
California Governor Signs 'Sanctuary State' Bill GUEST: Ben Adler, Capitol bureau chief, Capital Public Radio

I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. It is Friday, October 6 our top story on midday edition despite condemnation and warnings from the federal government, Governor. Jerry Brown has signed legislation making California a sanctuary state. The Governor. added a rare signing statement to the bill calling the legislation a balanced measure meant to protect immigrant families while still allowing agents to do their work. The sanctuary state legislation is the linchpin of a group of bills aimed at protecting immigrants. Joining me is Ben Adler capital Bureau chief with capital public radio. Welcome to the program.Thank you.This sanctuary state bill went through revisions since it was introduced. And you remind us what restrictions for law enforcement were in SB 54?It bands state and local law enforcement agencies excluding the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation of the state prison system from enforcing immigration holds on people in custody. It blocks the deposition of police as immigration agent which law enforcement groups even though are opposed to this measure say, we don't want be that anyway. It bars the state and local law enforcement agencies from inquiring into a individual's immigration status. Those are some of the things it does. Things that are still in the bill that were kept their to obtain some support from law enforcement, that includes federal agents to interview people that are in custody. A earlier provision the what a band California law enforcement from sharing the databases for immigration enforcement that was dropped from the final bill. Crucially there has been this question, for which crimes committed or that someone has been convicted of could state and local law enforcement agencies notify ice of someone about to be released. The original version said for serious and violent felonies. That sounds like a severe list of crimes. It is a specific list technical in state law that does not include a lot of crimes that have concerned groups and Governor. Jerry Brown. He vetoed the original trust act which was the precursor to this sanctuary state bill. Then negotiated the next year a different trust act that had a broader list of crimes. That broad list of several hundred crimes are the crimes for which law enforcement can notified ice.San Diego County Sheriff was not available for comment but that San Diego Police Department give us this statement. SB 54 with all of its provision will not impact the city of San Diego or the SDPD. Our policy has been in place for many years. We have no plans to change it. We are not a sanctuary city. Are many police departments expected to change their practices?The bill with the final amendments shifted the California police chief Association from opposed to neutral. Police chiefs is comfortable with the final deal. It's the Sheriff's Department that are the most an easy about this bill. The California State Sheriff's Association oppose the measure as it has. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff whose the current president of the state Association told me when the deal was finalized that the Sheriff has about 80% of what they wanted courtesy of Governor. Brown negotiating with the author. They continue to oppose it. They felt the measure would put more Californians lives at risk.This seems to be setting up a giant showdown between California and the Trump administration. What did the Trump administration say?I have a statement from the Justice Department spokesman. The state of California has quantified a commitment to returning criminal aliens back to the streets which undermines public safety, national security and law enforcement. Given the multiple high profile incidents that have occurred in California in recent years -- here he's referring to the shooting in San Francisco that has a lot of media attention. Given that it is disappointing that state leaders have made it law to limit cooperation between local jurisdictions and immigration authorities attempting to keep Californians safe.Should we be expecting a lawsuit?I don't know if there will be a lawsuit. You never really know. You can expect ICE to continue operating in California. Even the bills backers say immigration is a federal issue and there are limits to what they can do. The bill does band immigration coming onto schools and courthouses. The question is will ICE ages -- where will ICE agents look to detain people if they have the concern that someone needs to be detained.This was one of many immigration relation bills that Governor. Brown signed yesterday. Can you give us a overview of the other provisions?One measure would make it illegal for a landlord to threaten to disclose a tenant's immigration status to get him to move out to pay higher rent. Another measure states businesses cannot allow federal immigration agents into nonpublic areas of their workplaces unless there's a warrant. Another bill allows immigrants to receive in-state tuition at community colleges.I've been speaking with Ben Adler capital Bureau chief with capital public radio. Inc. you so much.You are welcome.

The Golden State is about to become a "sanctuary state."

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that places sharp limits on how state and local law enforcement agencies can cooperate with federal immigration authorities, placing California squarely and provocatively in conflict with President Trump and his calls to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.

"These are uncertain times for undocumented Californians and their families," the governor said in a signing statement that laid out what the measure will – and will not – do. "This bill strikes a balance that will protect public safety while bringing a measure of comfort to those families who are now living in fear every day."

The bill, SB 54 by California Senate President pro tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), takes effect on January 1st, 2018. In broad terms, it extends local "sanctuary city" protections for immigrants living in California without legal documentation. (The governor, De León and some of the bill's backers prefer not to use the term "sanctuary state" because they argue it has become politically loaded and there is confusion over its precise meaning.)

Specifically, it bans state and local agencies, excluding the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, from enforcing "holds" on people in custody. It blocks the deputization of police as immigration agents and bars state and local law enforcement agencies from inquiring into an individual's immigration status.

It also prohibits new or expanded contracts with federal agencies to use California law enforcement facilities as detention centers, although it does not force the termination of existing contracts – including Orange County's $22 million annual contract with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"The California Values Act won't stop ICE from trolling our streets. It will not provide full sanctuary. But it will put a kink – a large kink – in Trump's perverse and inhumane deportation machine," De León said at a news conference Thursday after Governor Brown signed the bill. "California is building a wall – a wall of justice – against President Trump's xenophobic, racist and ignorant immigration policies."

But under a deal struck between De León and Brown, an originally wide-ranging bill was narrowed down to address law enforcement concerns. Compared to previous versions, the final measure expands the list of crimes for which law enforcement can choose to notify and transfer someone to immigration authorities.

The agreement allows federal agents to interview people in custody, and state and local agencies can continue to participate in joint task forces with ICE and other federal agencies. The final legislation also drops an earlier provision that would have banned California law enforcement from sharing their databases for immigration enforcement.

The late amendments led California police chiefs to drop their opposition to the bill and shift their positions to neutral. But, along with Republicans, sheriffs remain the measure's leading critics.

"The bill that is in print now is significantly better than what was there," Santa Barbara County Sheriff and California State Sheriffs' Association president Bill Brown told Capital Public Radio last month after the deal with the governor was struck. But Sheriff Brown said, as a result of the new law, "People who are chronic or serial criminals that just haven't risen to a particular level of crime yet are going to go back out into the community, and people are going to be victimized."

The Trump administration also slammed the bill signing.

"The State of California has now codified a commitment to returning criminal aliens back onto our streets, which undermines public safety, national security, and law enforcement," Justice Department spokesman Devin O'Malley said in a statement. "Given the multiple high-profile incidents that have occurred in California in recent years, it is especially disappointing that state leaders have made it law to limit cooperation between local jurisdictions and immigration authorities attempting to keep Californians safe."

But Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, a Los Angeles immigrant who was detained earlier this year while taking his daughters to school, says the governor's action made him very emotional.

"There will be a lot more tranquility in our community," Avelica-Gonzalez said at De León's news conference. "We're gonna be able to take our kids to school, go visit the doctor, go to courts, with the confidence that we won't be detained."

SB 54 passed both chambers of the California Legislature last month on the final day of session. All but three Democrats supported the bill, while no Republican voted for it.

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