Just seven days after President Donald Trump’s executive orders targeting immigrants prompted nationwide protests and global condemnation, California lawmakers are advancing measures that would bar the state’s police and sheriffs from enforcing president Donald Trump’s immigration orders, The Intercept reported Friday.
The California Senate passed bill SB 54, which bars state law enforcement from working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to identify or detain people with no criminal conviction for deportation. The bill does not prevent ICE from enforcing immigration law in California or honoring judicial warrants, according to the report.
Prior to the vote, the legislative hearings had the tone of a state ready to go head to head with Washington, with repeated references to California’s size, economic clout, and large immigrant population. Lawmakers also went out of their way to highlight studies linking sanctuary policies to decreased crime.
“Trump’s remarks and the political climate around immigration makes Pete look like a choir boy compared to what we see today,” said State Sen. Kevin De León, the son of undocumented immigrants and leader of the California Senate, and author of the bill SB 54.
The measure passed through the Public Safety Committee on Tuesday with a 5-2 vote, according to the report. State Sens. Jeff Stone and Joel Anderson, both Southern California Republicans, opposed the bill over concerns it would prohibit police and sheriffs from cooperating with federal agencies.
“I’m concerned that you’re basically making California a de facto sanctuary state,” State Sen. Jeff Stone (R) told De Leon during the hearing. “I’m also concerned about the promise of this president to take away significant federal money that this state needs and depends on,” he said, referring to Trump’s executive order threatening to cut funding from local governments that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
On Tuesday, a separate bill designed to counter Trump’s call for a national Muslim registry was unanimously passed by California’s Senate Judiciary Committee. The measure, SB 31, would prevent state law enforcement from participating in the creation of any database or registry of individuals according to their religion, national origin, or ethnicity.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara, who authored the proposal, compared Trump’s recent ban on travelers and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries to the deportation of hundreds of thousands bracero migrant workers in the 1950s under Operation Wetback and the Chinese Exclusion Act.
“Friday’s executive order was a return to those shameful and deplorable acts of our past,” Lara told reporters.
Additionally, a third bill, SB 6, to create a state-funded legal defense program for undocumented immigrants in deportation proceedings advanced out of the Judiciary Committee. The program would not cover individuals with violent felony convictions on their record, according to the report.