Activists applaud California’s new pro-immigrant laws, becoming a sanctuary state
ROSEMEAD, CA — Immigrant rights advocates are relieved over a series of recently signed laws that benefit undocumented immigrants in California.
California Governor Jerry Brown has recently signed off on several pieces of legislation that benefit undocumented immigrants.
“California is the state of resistance for the American people to support our immigrant families,” says Stuart Kwoh of Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
It’s the biggest victory for California’s estimated 2 and a half million undocumented residents. SB 54, the California Values Act, designates the country’s most populous state as a sanctuary state.
It bans local police from actively working with federal officials when it comes to enforcing immigration laws.
Another bill, AB 699, prohibits schools from sharing immigration data of students.
“California state and local law enforcement agencies will not be a cog in the Trump deportation machine,” said Kevin DeLeon, CA Senate President Pro Temp. “If the president wants to wage a campaign of fear against innocent families he can count us out.”
Filipino Dreamers like Anthony Ng believe these two new laws, along with a measure prohibiting religious registries and a separate voter protection law that ensures bilingual voter access, will allow families with immigration issues to live more freely in the Golden State.
“For a lot of the undocumented folks here in California or here in the US, we understand that these key bills are really a step forward in ensuring that our rights are protected, by ensuring we’re disentangling law enforcement with ICE,” said Ng. “Folks have access to higher education and have access to institutions that they go to on an everyday basis.”
The laws only apply to California, but advocates believe the passage of these bills can begin a nationwide movement.
“On the federal side, it’s languishing in Congress, but we do know by passing such a strong bill like SB54, we inspire other states to take a look at their language or their policies and try to move it in their own states,” said Andrew Medina, Advancing Justice CA Policy Manager
The passage of these bills came with resistance from a few cities as well as police unions.
It has also sparked protests and calls for Governor Brown’s recall from anti-illegal immigration groups.
In an official statement, ICE has said that this misguided legislation will negatively impact its California operations. The agency warns that instead of focusing on finding deportable criminals in prisons, it will have to conduct at-large public arrests, possibly leading to more apprehensions.