After a contentious debate, the California Senate passed Senate Bill 54, on Monday. The bill, being called “sanctuary state” bill, will prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from investigating, detaining, reporting or arresting individuals for immigration enforcement.
While Republicans warned that the bill would lead to criminals being let go – cautioning that the move would displease President Trump – Democrats say that Californians had to take a stand to protect “hardworking” immigrants that have become an integral part of the nation’s cultural and economic pillars.
The Senate voted 27 to 12 along party lines to pass the bill, which will, before moving to the governor’s desk, be considered by the state Assembly. State Senator Kevin de Leon, the bill’s author, said that California “cannot be intimidated” by pressure from President Trump to deny sanctuary states federal funds and grants. “This is about making our communities safer, not less safe … We don’t grovel and put our hand out so we can get a little money and buy a police car,” he said. “Our role and responsibility is to protect all individuals.”
As part of the ongoing crackdown by the Trump administration, the Department of Justice will no longer give any grants to on disobliging local governments of sanctuary jurisdictions.
“We don’t have to collaborate and use our local tax dollars to enforce federal immigration laws,” Leon said in an interview. “If they want to go after the bad guys, the violent felons and drug dealers, we are more than happy to continue to work with them. But if they want to split families up and deport the nanny, that’s not what America’s about and that’s not what California is about.”
Republicans, however, argued on Monday, that the bill means the state is overstepping its limits as the implementation of immigration policy is the domain of the federal government. The Republicans also went on to say that the move to make California a sanctuary state would make it a “magnet” for dangerous criminals.
Deportation of undocumented immigrants was one of Trump’s major campaign promises. After taking charge of the Oval Office in January, Trump has issued orders for immigration laws to be enforced with more aggression. Before taking office, Trump had also promised to create a special “deportation force” tasked to carry out such work.