Back in March, we wrote about the possibility of California becoming a sanctuary state. As of last week, this will come to pass in the near future. California is officially the first state to sign these protections into law, thanks to Governor Jerry Brown. The new legislation has been signed and goes into effect January 1, 2018. We’ll discuss what this means for immigrants and law enforcement officials.
What the New Law Will Do
Though “sanctuary state” has become a loaded political term, sponsors of the bill want to be very clear about what protections this bill extends and what it does not. Beginning in the new year, the new law ensures the following:
- State and local agencies may not hold people in police custody simply for their immigration status if no other crime has been committed
- Police may not be deputized by ICE to serve as immigration officials
- Law enforcement agencies may not inquire about immigration status
- New or extended contracts with federal agencies using California state facilities for immigration or deportation centers are blocked
What the Bill Will Not Do
There are, of course, limitations to this legislation. The new law cannot:
- Prevent ICE from deporting an undocumented immigrant
- Nullify existing contracts with federal agencies for the use of California state facilities as detention and/or deportation centers
- Prevent ICE from inquiring about someone’s immigration status
A Contentious Issue
Both supporters and opponents of this new legislation are plenty. Supporters laud this as a success for humanitarianism and protecting the downtrodden. They firmly believe nonviolent undocumented immigrants should be kicked out of the country because they did not enter legally.
Opponents of the bill fear that protecting undocumented immigrants puts U.S. citizens at greater risk for crime, as well as putting a financial strain on public services.
The polarized nature of those on either side essentially guarantees an interesting political climate in our state in next year’s midterm elections.
Working for You
It is our job at Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation to keep our clients informed of changing laws and legislation. If you or a loved one is in need of trusted counsel for a personal injury, DUI, misdemeanor, or sexual harassment case, contact our Murrieta office today at (951) 489-3320 to schedule a free consultation.