California to take up sanctuary city legislation
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California to take up sanctuary city legislation


    Anirvan Chatterjee, left, of the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, held a sign at a rally outside of City Hall in San Francisco on Wednesday.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. >> California may prohibit local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, creating a border-to-border sanctuary in the nation’s largest state as legislative Democrats ramp up their efforts to battle President Donald Trump’s migration policies.

The legislation is scheduled for its first public hearing Tuesday as the Senate rushes to enact measures that Democratic lawmakers say would protect immigrants from the crackdown that the Republican president has promised.

While many of California’s largest cities — including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento — have so-called sanctuary policies that prohibit police from cooperating with immigration authorities, much of the state does not.

The Democratic legislation, written by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles, comes up for debate less than a week after Trump signed an order threatening to withdraw some federal grants from jurisdictions that bar officials from communicating with federal authorities about someone’s immigration status.

The Senate Public Safety Committee considers SB54 Tuesday morning. The Judiciary Committee will also consider fast-tracked legislation that would spend state money, in an amount that has not been disclosed, to provide lawyers for people facing deportation.

Some Republicans have criticized the Democratic reaction to Trump’s policies, saying bombastic rhetoric and provocative legislation will inflame tensions with the president and harm California.

The debate over sanctuary cities reached a fevered pitch in 2015 after Kate Steinle, 32, was fatally shot in the back Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who was in the country illegally after multiple deportations to his native Mexico. Lopez-Sanchez, who told police the gun fired by accident, had been released from a San Francisco jail despite a request from federal immigration authorities that he be held in custody for possible deportation. Trump often cited the Steinle case during the campaign.

Many other cities and counties in California also refuse to detain immigrants for deportation agents out of legal concerns after a federal court ruled that immigrants can’t be held in jail beyond their scheduled release dates. Since then, federal agents have been asking local law enforcement agencies to provide information about immigrants they’re seeking for deportation, if not hold them.

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  • It just seems chaotic if there’s no cooperation between local and federal law enforcement officials. Somehow they have to work out a compromise and work together.

    • Or you cut off all federal funding for law enforcement (since California won’t need it since they won’t enforce federal laws) and let California house all the illegal immigrants they want.

  • An illegal immigrant has superior rights than a legal resident in California. Example, an illegal immigrant can obtain a driver’s license. Whereas, a resident must show liability insurance coverage before being issued his driver’s license. Son got rear-ended and must pay the deductible since the driver was an immigrant with no auto insurance coverage. “Sanctuary” city?

  • If California declares itself a de facto sanctuary state, then look for complementary legislation absolving the state – including its law enforcement agencies, its governmental entities and elected officials – from being criminally or civilly liable should someone invoking or falling under “sanctuary status” commit a crime or hurt or kill a resident or visitor to the State of California.

  • California does not need the rest of the US. They should leave the Union. Will the rest of the US let them? Probably not.

    California has always respected other cultures. How nice it is to live in a state that welcomes all and is not crying about immigrants like most of the rest of the country.

    • Maybe the difference between California and other states is that it had plenty of examples of not being so welcoming in its 19th and 20th century history. Think of the Workingmen’s Party and The Supreme Order of Caucasians and events leading to the Chinese Exclusion Act, a federal law, of 1882. And we shouldn’t dismiss the wholesale eradication of Japanese-American communities and the permanent forfeiture of profitable farms and commercial fishing enterprises in 1942.

      Maybe after so much pain and grief, California’s stance in the present day can be understood, if not agreed with.

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