California Becomes Sanctuary State

San Francisco Press Conference Suppporting AB 450

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – 24MARCH17 – San Francisco janitors and other workers supporting AB 450, a bill introduced by Assembly Member David Chiu, to protect workers during immigration raids and enforcement actions. David Huerta, President of United Service Workers West, SEIU. Copyright David Bacon

With today’s signing of  California SB 54 into law, one of the most important parts of the legal wall of protections is now in place. Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions will not be able to use California’s own law enforcement officials in an effort to round up and deport our fellow Californians

California labor unions and immigrants’ rights groups led the way in organizing to pass SB 54.

Last month, Sessions called California’s sanctuary state bill “unconscionable.” Other federal officials also have sounded off against SB 54, suggesting illegal immigration is tied to increases in violent crime.

Throughout his campaign and in his tenure as president, Trump has tried to make the same connection, showcasing the relatives of people killed by immigrants in the country illegally. And one of his earliest executive orders put cities and counties on alert that they would lose federal funding if law enforcement did not cooperate with immigration agents.

The move has struck a bitter chord in California, home to at least 35 cities that have embraced the “sanctuary” label, and where Brown and Democratic lawmakers have passed legislation to extend financial aid, healthcare and driver’s licenses to thousands of unauthorized immigrants. Other bills signed by Brown on Thursday would prevent some cities and counties from adding beds to immigrant detention centers, and would extend protections for immigrant workers and tenants.

In some places, the “sanctuary city” name is largely a symbolic message of political support for immigrants without legal residency. But other cities, most notably San Francisco and most recently Los Angeles, have cut ties with federal immigration officials and sought to build up social services for families, including city-funded legal aid.

De León defended the final version of the bill, saying it still accomplished his initial objective to prevent California resources and police from being “commandeered” for Trump’s policies.

“California’s local law enforcement cannot be commandeered and used by the Trump Administration to tear families apart, undermine our safety, and wreak havoc on our economy,” de Leon said at a news conference in Los Angeles, where activists behind him chanted “Sí, se puede.”

De Leon denounced Trump and criticized his policies as “racist and xenophobic.”

“From the moment Donald Trump won the election, California Democrats have been united in our determination to protect our undocumented brothers and sisters from the cruelty and viciousness of the Trump administration’s stated promises of roundups and deportations

 

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One Response

  1. Makes me proud to be a California!

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