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California Lawmakers Call For More Limits On Cooperating With Federal Immigration Agents

melfoody / Flickr

melfoody / Flickr

Democratic state lawmakers in California have introduced a bill to further limit state and local police from cooperating with federal immigration officers.
The California Values Act, or SB 54, was put forward by State Senate leader Kevin de León.
Jon Rodney of the California Immigrant Policy Center, which helped write the bill, said it’s in reaction to President-elect Trump’s calls for aggressive immigration enforcement.
“What this bill -- the California Values Act -- does is it makes sure we don’t use our state resources, our local resources to fuel mass deportations, to separate families," Rodney said. 

He added: “It makes sure that police, sheriffs, school security officers are not involved in deportations, not involved in reporting community members, arresting, detaining, turning community members over to ICE for deportation.” 

The bill signals California's Democratic leaders will stand with the state's estimated 2.3 million undocumented residents, said Blake Nordahl, supervising attorney at the McGeorge Law School’s immigration clinic in Sacramento. 

Nordahl said the bill also sends the message: "that immigration is a federal issue," and that locals police should "stay out of it."

The bill would prohibit immigration enforcement at public schools, hospitals and courts and designate those places as so-called ‘safe zones.’

Under the bill, local police would still comply with judicial warrants, including the transfer of violent offenders into the custody of federal immigration agents.

UC Davis Law School Dean Kevin R. Johnson told Capital Public Radio on Wednesday that California has the legal authority to restrict cooperation between local police and federal immigration authorities. The question, he said, is how might the incoming Trump administration react.

“I think there may be federal pressure on local law enforcement to cooperate,” Johnson said.

Trump has said he’ll cancel federal funding for sanctuary cities -- those that limit cooperation between local police and federal immigration officials. Many of California’s largest cities, including Sacramento, Los Angeles and Sacramento, are considered sanctuary cities.

“That’s the real rub: There’s going to be state and federal tension,” Johnson said.

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