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California takes big step towards becoming a sanctuary state

posted by Ed Diokno
California takes big step towards becoming a sanctuary state

By Ed Diokno

Views From the Edge

THE CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY today (Sept. 15) approved SB 54 that would make the state a so-called sanctuary state.

SB 54, which Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign, aims to restrict collaboration between local law enforcement and federal agents, but it does allow police to communicate with immigration authorities about people convicted within the past 15 years of hundreds of crimes.

“Today, the Assembly passed the California Values Act, SB 54. In doing so, California can be a light to the nation and world of how policies of inclusion and compassion foster stronger, safer, more prosperous communities,” said Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Oakland.

The State Senate approved the bill in April. The Assembly added a host of amendments at the urging of Brown to make it more palatable to California’s law enforcement agencies. The Senate is expected to revote on the bill and move  it to the governor’s desk.

The legislation is the latest volley in the back-and-forth battle against Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to increase deportation efforts. The lawmakers also approved money for legal assistance and college scholarships for undocumented residents and made it more difficult for businesses and government agencies to disclose people’s immigration status.
 
Last week, the state’s Attorney General filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for DHS’s rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
 
California is home to between 2.35 and 2.6 million undocumented immigrants. Nearly a quarter of the nation’s undocumented immigrants reside in California, where they constitute more than 6% of the state’s population. There are about 400,000 undocumented immigrants from Asia.
Nearly one in 10 California workers is an undocumented immigrant, according to the Pew Research Center. The state’s labor force includes about 1.75 million undocumented immigrants. This is the second-highest statewide concentration of undocumented workers (9.0%) in the U.S. after Nevada (10.4%). Undocumented immigrants work disproportionately in agriculture, construction, and manufacturing.
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