Calif. Senate Leader Pushes Bill to ‘Freeze Out ICE’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – Firing a direct warning shot to President-elect Donald Trump, California lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a bill that would bar state and local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration agents.

Proposing a “wall of justice” for California’s millions of undocumented immigrants, state Senate leader Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, promised to protect Californians from Trump’s proposed “inhumane and overreaching” deportations.

“We will not stand by and let the federal government use our state and local agencies to separate mothers from their children,” De Leon said in statement.

Senate Bill 54 would prohibit state, local and university police from spending money and resources for immigration purposes or making arrests based on civil immigration warrants.

“I cannot wait and allow federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to use state and local dollars, data, personnel, and facilities to help deport the very families who contribute so much to our economy and community,” De Leon said.

De Leon’s California Values Act also calls for “safe zones” at public schools, courthouses and hospitals where immigration enforcement would be prohibited. The bill would require the state attorney general to update and distribute new immigration enforcement guidelines to those facilities.

California already has laws intended to limit law enforcement agencies’ cooperation with ICE officials, including the California Trust Act which limits immigration hold requests in local jails.

Trump’s divisive immigration stance on the campaign trail has spurred several immigration proposals by state Democrats during the first week of the legislative session. On Monday, Democrats introduced bills that would fund legal help for undocumented immigrants fighting deportation cases and create regional immigration law training centers for attorneys.

In a series of swearing-in ceremony speeches and press conferences, lawmakers promised to fight against Trump’s potential immigration and environmental policy shifts and his cabinet of “bullies, bigots and billionaires.”

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center said SB 54 highlights California’s “long-standing history of welcoming.”

“The California Values Act presents a prime opportunity to ensure that our law enforcement and local governments are no longer a front door to deportation for our residents,” Angie Junck, an attorney for the resource center, said in a statement.

Under the proposal, state and local departments would not be allowed to transfer an individual to federal authorities without a judicial warrant.

“Notwithstanding any other law, in no event shall state or local law enforcement agencies or school police or security departments transfer an individual to federal immigration authorities for purposes of immigration enforcement or detain an individual at the request of federal immigration authorities for purposes of immigration enforcement absent a judicial warrant,” the bill states.

The bill next heads to the Senate rules committee for review.


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