Staff Editorial: Gov. Brown it’s time to make CA a sanctuary state
And, given the dangerous and irrational nature of the national political climate, this bill’s timing couldn’t be better.
President Trump’s “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” order, signed on Jan. 25, is a signal that his administration will continue to bully sanctuary cities with threats of withholding federal funding.
As El Tecolote has previously reported, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed suit against the order on Jan. 31—the first of multiple suits by sanctuary cities arguing that it is unconstitutional. But SB54 takes the idea of sanctuary even further.
Drafted by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León and Scott Wiener, and passed (27-12) along party lines, SB54 will strictly limit a sheriff’s ability to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a time when the Trump administration is attempting to draft local law enforcement into its campaign to intimidate immigrant communities. Among other things, the bill will prohibit local law enforcement agencies across the state from using resources—including personnel, equipment and money—to assist with federal immigration enforcement. It will also guard against racial profiling by barring law enforcement from notifying Immigration and Customs Enforcement when they pull people over.
De León observed when introducing the bill that the current political climate is actually endangering the public, as many people in immigrant communities are so frightened they are reluctant to report and testify about actual crimes.
Law enforcement agents are of course not so keen on SB54. But the opinions of institutionally corrupt police departments and a few rural sheriffs do not reflect those of the majority of Californians.
Most Californians value immigrants. We understand that all of us are immigrants or the product of immigration. We prize diversity, inclusion and equality. More than any other state, California is a beacon for immigrants near and far.
Trump and his toady at the Justice Department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have made it clear they believe a person’s very presence in this country could constitute a crime. We reject this idea as ludicrous and un-American.
SB54 heads to the State Assembly next, where it is expected to pass easily, although Gov. Brown has not indicated his support for it yet. We urge Brown to sign this crucial piece of legislation into law. California has a long history of leading the way in social policies—from recycling to LGBTQ rights. Let’s continue to set a good example for how to treat marginalized immigrant communities, which the rest of the country can follow.