California is once again seeming to prove it wants to be its own nation as legislators in Sacramento have pushed SB 54, the so-called "Santuary State Bill", one step closer to reality after it "sailed through" the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
The bill was drafted by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) and would stop state and local cops, in every town across California, from helping the feds enforce immigration law. Under the measure, ICE agents would no longer be allowed to go into jails to deport undocumented prisoners, and they’d have restricted access to state databases.
Here is DeLeon explaining why it's ok for California legislators to simply pick and choose which laws they will enforce. Per CBS Sacramento:
“During the Trump administration, the first 100 days, arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record has jumped to 150% during the same period as last year. We will protect those who contribute to making California the sixth largest economy in the world,” said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles).
De Leon maintains his bill will allow authorities to respond to ICE inquiries, only about convicted violent offenders. And support is strong, from union groups representing undocumented workers to faith-based organizations that shield immigrant families. First in line, Former state Supreme Court judge Cruz Reynoso, the son of Mexican immigrants and a professor of law at UC Davis.
“It’s up to the federal government to enforce federal laws and the state don’t need to cooperate with the federal government,” he said.
Of course, not everyone in California's Senate agrees with the liberal policies pushed by the majority of legislators from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Senator Jeff Stone (R-Temecula) recently appeared on Fox News to express his opposition:
The bill protects people convicted of human trafficking, child abuse or assault with a deadly weapon from deportation, he said.
“Basically we are going to be putting these dangerous criminals back into our streets and neighborhoods,” Stone said on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning.
To be clear, immigrants who commit these crimes would still face justice. SB 54 does not prevent the police from arresting people, prosecutors from filing charges, judges from sentencing or jails from detaining anyone.
However, Stone argues that people convicted of serious crimes who have served their sentence will be released from jail instead of being deported and, because there is a high recidivism rate, they are likely to commit more crimes.
There are more than 3 million undocumented immigrants living in California and about 11,000 of them have been convicted of serious and violent felonies, according to state lawmakers.
Meanwhile, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood has also spoken out against the bill and has asked his county's Board of Supervisors to a adopt a resolution that would declare Kern a “law and order” county and not a “sanctuary” county. Per The Daily Caller:
Far from limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood wants to ensure that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have continued access to his jails so they can identify and deport illegal alien felons.
“Sheriff’s deputies don’t enforce immigration laws and we don’t go on federal immigration sweeps, but we do have to allow our federal partners to do their job,” Youngblood told the LA Times.
A Republican and Vietnam veteran, Youngblood has no shortage of critics in California, which has emerged as the leading opponent to the immigration policies of the Trump administration. Activists and Democratic opponents say he is setting his own immigration enforcement agenda in defiance of state law.
Of course, somehow we suspect the few voices of the opposition will drown in California's vast sea of progressivism.