Setting up the Golden State for a confrontation with the federal government, California's Democrat governor, Jerry brown, signed 11 bills related to immigration into law on Friday. One of the new laws effectively makes California a sanctuary state. Known as the California Values Act, SB54 was drafted by California Senate President Kevin de León (D) and bars law enforcement officers from arresting individuals based on civil immigration warrants, asking about a person’s immigration status, or participating in any joint task force with federal officials for the purpose of enforcing immigration laws.”
SB54 also “bars local jails from contracting with the federal government to house their detainees and holding immigrants for any reason if they are cleared for release on their state criminal cases.”
The bill does not, however, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the Department of Homeland Security from enforcing federal immigration laws in California. Instead, the bill states that California will refrain from using its own law enforcement to enforce federal law. Affirming the purpose of the bills, de Leon said the bill "will put a large kink in [President] Trump's perverse and inhumane deportation machine." Brown said that the new measures ensure that the “hardworking people who contribute to our state are respected.”
Also recognizing the effect the bills would have on law enforcement, Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said in a statement last month, “Disturbingly, the legislation serves to codify a dangerous policy that deliberately obstructs our country’s immigration laws and shelters serious criminal alien offenders.”
California State Sheriffs’ Association president Bill Brown said he continues to demand changes to portions of the bill, including measures “restricting our communications with federal law enforcement about the release of wanted, undocumented criminals from our jails, including repeat drunk drivers, persons who assault peace officers, serial thieves, animal abusers, known gang members and other serious offenders.” Brown is the sheriff of Santa Barbara County.
The laws go into effect on January 1.
In July, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens appeared on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight." She told show host Tucker Carlson that SB54 “places Californians at risk of being impacted by these criminals who are getting released to the street.” When Carlson asked, “If the state of California can say to the feds, ‘We are just ignoring your law,’ then why can’t Orange County say to the state of California, ‘We are ignoring your law?'”
Hutchens responded by saying that her office had already raised the question with an attorney to see if Orange County can simply violate state law. But, she added, “We would be subject to being prosecuted if we didn’t follow state law.”