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State Legislators pass bill to make California a 'sanctuary state'


The California Values Act at first would have prohibited state and local law enforcement agencies from using any resources to hold, question or share information about people with federal immigration agents, unless they had violent or serious criminal convictions. But immigrant rights groups applauded the final bill, noting that it represented a strong rebuke of President Donald Trump's anti-immigration agenda, including the Justice Department's threats to withhold law enforcement grants from sanctuary cities.

"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. What emerged was SB 54, described by advocates in its original form as the best sanctuary legislation they'd seen in decades.

But the law has backers too: San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who simply called it "a reasonable streamlining bill", and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff, who said in August, "We need to plan and prepare for accommodating diverse populations and more dense development in our existing footprint". Jerry Brown, who announced his support this week after the top Senate leader, the bill's author, agreed to water it down and preserve authority for jail and prison officials to cooperate with immigration officers in many cases.

Law enforcement, including jail officers, will still be able to work with federal immigration authorities if a person has been convicted of one of some 800 crimes, mostly felonies and misdemeanors that can be charged as felonies.

The Republican minority in the Legislature opposed the bill. The bill would take effect January 1.

State legislators approved a measure early Saturday morning that would make California a sanctuary state.

McGuire said the bill "helps to reestablish desperately needed transparency in the White House".

The organization put out a release earlier this week, saying that "California's front-line law enforcement officers do not now engage in, and have no intention of engaging in, immigration enforcement in the field". Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, and Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.

"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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