California Becomes A “Sanctuary State”
On October 5, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Values Act. The “sanctuary state” law aims to protect California’s 2.3 million undocumented citizens from federal immigration authorities (ICE).
Currently local authorities may release inmate information, including citizenship status, to federal immigration authorities. When the law becomes effective on January 1st, 2018, ICE will no longer be notified when undocumented immigrants are released from jail.
When Does The Sanctuary State Law Start?
The sanctuary state law is set to go into effect on January 1, 2018. If the Trump administration, which opposes the law, challenges the law in federal court, the start date of the law could be delayed until the conclusion of court proceedings.
The California Values Act does not prevent ICE from looking for people without documentation or executing search warrants for non-citizens. The law does ban state and local agencies, excluding the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, from enforcing “holds” on people in prison custody.
The act blocks the deputization of police as immigration agents and bars state and local law enforcement agencies from asking about immigration status. It also prohibits new or expanded contracts with federal agencies to use California law enforcement facilities as detention centers.
California Responds To Trump Administration
State and local governments are locked in a battle with Attorney General Jeff Sessions over Sessions’ move to slash federal grant funding from “sanctuary jurisdictions.” A number of California cities have become sanctuary cities or cut ties with immigration authorities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Proponents of the law argue that it makes immigrant communities safer by encouraging trust, cooperation and communication between immigrants and local authorities. Research has shown sanctuary cities have lower crime rates and that immigrants commit fewer crimes than U.S. citizens.
The Trump administration has tried to draw a link between undocumented immigrants and increases in violent crimes.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff
Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown, president of the California State Sheriff’s Association, opposed the California Values Act. Brown says people will be victimized as a result of the new law.