“The State of California Will Be Your Wall of Justice”
SACRAMENTO – California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) has introduced SB 54, the California Values Act, to prevent the use of state and local public resources to aid federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in deportation actions.
“To the millions of undocumented residents pursuing and contributing to the California Dream, the State of California will be your wall of justice should the incoming Administration adopt an inhumane and over-reaching mass-deportation policy,” said Senator de León. “We will not stand by and let the federal government use our state and local agencies to separate mothers from their children.”
SB 54 will ban state and local law enforcement officials from performing the functions of a federal immigration officer. The California Values Act does not prevent state and local departments or agencies from complying with a judicial warrant to transfer violent offenders into federal custody for immigration enforcement purposes.
"The right to due process is the bedrock of the U.S. criminal justice system," said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. "A warrant requirement will enable California to preserve our civil liberties and enhance public safety by maintaining the trust and effectiveness of law enforcement. A warrant requirement will ensure the government confirms a person's identity and whether they are subject to deportation before they can be detained, thereby preventing citizens, authorized immigrants and victims of crime from being jailed."
District Attorney Gascón, formerly San Francisco’s Police Chief and Deputy Police Chief in Los Angeles, added that public safety suffers when local police enforce immigration laws. “When victims of crime don't come forward for fear of immigration consequences, the impact on public safety reaches far beyond immigrant communities,” he said.
The California Values Act will also create “safe zones” throughout the state by prohibiting immigration enforcement on public school, hospital, and courthouse premises. To ensure eligible immigrants are not deterred from seeking services and engaging with state agencies, the bill also requires state agencies to review and update confidentiality policies.
“In California we have policies that provide health, safety, education, and an environment where all people can thrive,” said Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County) principal co-author of SB 54. “California is a state where everyone is welcome. SB 54 will make it clear California public schools, hospitals, and courthouses will not be used by the Trump regime to deport our families, friends, neighbors, classmates, and co-workers.”
President-elect Trump’s reckless comments about immigrants and deportation has honest, hardworking families living in fear and their children being taunted at school, Senator de León said earlier this week during the unveiling of a separate “Immigrants Shape California” package.
“I cannot stand by and allow federal ICE 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,” he said.
Cynthia Buiza, Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center, added: "The California Values Act answers the ugly slurs of xenophobia with a simple but profound truth: all people are created equal. Against Trump and other forces who seek to demonize and persecute immigrants, the Golden State must embrace and defend our common humanity and deepest values. Getting law enforcement out of painful deportations, protecting the integrity of public spaces, and rejecting any registry which target Muslims will send a potent message to the nation - and the world."
Marcus McKinney, Policy Director, People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO) California, said: "As a faith-based organization we wholeheartedly oppose draconian deportation policies out of the new administration in Washington that will further exacerbate racial profiling. California must take an aggressive stance against these policies to ensure families are not torn apart by reactionary and divisive immigration policies."
Angie Junck, Supervising Attorney, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, said: "In continuation of California's long-standing history of welcoming, the CA 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.”
“The incoming Presidential Administration has promised to unleash a new regime of government sanctioned discrimination that runs counter to our values as Californians, would unfairly target millions of hard working families, devastate our economy and impose unfair burdens on taxpayers,” said AFSCME Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger. “The California Values Act reflects our common ideals and reaffirms our shared responsibilities.”