As President Donald Trump nears his 100-day mark, California legislators are working to push back on his immigration enforcement policies. Senate Bill 54, commonly known as the “sanctuary state bill,” would seriously limit area law enforcement officials from working with federal immigration authorities.
“We don’t want to impede law enforcement ability to keep our communities safe but don’t want to be a tool for ICE to exploit Trump’s assault on our communities, either,” said State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who voted for the bill.
But Assemblymember Monique Limón, a progressive Democrat, has held her tongue. She said she would wait to make a decision until the bill reaches the Assembly floor. It needs a simple majority to pass.
Limón, who has been active at immigrants’-rights events, said her office is getting calls on both sides of the issue. “There are so many angles someone could take,” she said. “Is it about making sure our resource dollars are used for state priorities?” she asked, adding, “How will the bill make our communities safer?”
Sheriff Bill Brown charges it won’t. He said the effort would limit his agency’s ability to relay information about a person convicted of crimes such as domestic violence or drunk driving, or a serious offender awaiting trial. “We have had numerous panga boat incursions from Mexico by drug and human smugglers,” he added, “and this legislation would limit or curtail our collaboration with federal authorities in the investigation of these crimes.”
While Brown has been hammered by immigration activists for working with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the federal department has issued three weekly reports accusing his department of “potentially endangering Americans.” The reports claimed the Sheriff’s Office declined to hold dozens of inmates after ICE agents requested they do so, even though that would have violated California law.
The reports failed to identify the names of the inmates and the charges they had been convicted of. They were deemed false by several law enforcement agencies. After weeks of backlash, the Trump administration suspended the reports. Brown said he was pleased to hear the news this week, calling the reports “inaccurate” and “counterproductive.”