California Moves One Step Closer To Becoming ‘Sanctuary State’

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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The California Senate approved a measure Monday to limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement efforts, moving one step closer to “sanctuary state” status.

The controversial bill–called SB 54–passed on a party line vote, 27-12, and will now move to the state assembly, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

A direct response to the Trump administration’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, the law would enforce a set of sanctuary policies across the state. It would prevent law enforcement from using state resources to inquire about a person’s immigration status or from telling federal agents about a defendant’s release date unless it is already public information.

“It is a rejection of President Trump’s false and cynical portrayal of undocumented immigrants as a lawless community,” said Senate leader Kevin de León at a conference after the vote.

California already has a number of cities and counties that have declared themselves sanctuary jurisdictions. SB 54 aims to make those the policies uniform statewide.

Critics of the bill say it will ultimately allow criminal aliens to be set free and could cause the state to lose criminal justice grant money from the federal government. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has threatened to pull Department of Justice grants from sanctuary jurisdictions that limit cooperation with immigration agents. (RELATED: Sessions Moves To Quickly Deport Imprisoned Immigrants)

“I can’t believe any of us really want these individuals to stay in our country after committing these heinous crimes,” said Sen. Patricia Bates, the recently elected Senate Republican leader from Laguna Niguel.

If SB 54 passes the state assembly and is signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, it will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

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