California was one step closer to becoming a sanctuary on Friday , following the passage in the Legislative Assembly of bill SB 54 known as the ‘Act of values’, which limits the cooperation of local authorities with the Immigration Service and Customs (ICE).
After passing in this state legislative body with 49 votes in favor against 25, the initiative will be voted in the Senate for final approval (for what has only until this Saturday). From there, it will remain in the hands of Governor Jerry Brown, who this week was in favor of signing and converting it into law after Senate leader Kevin de Leon, author of the proposal, agreed to make some amendments.
“This bill protects public safety and all those who abide by the laws and come to California to work hard and make this state a better place,” Brown said.
The measure, one of the first responses by California lawmakers to tightening immigration policies against undocumented immigrants, aims to prevent the use of public, state and local resources in ICE-related tasks.
An estimated 2.3 million undocumented immigrants live in California.
On several occasions the governor had requested that the original text be amended. One of the changes in the law would allow local agents to share information with ICE about prisoners convicted of certain offenses, federal agents will also be allowed to interview detainees in prisons, but will not be given permanent office space in these centers.
“SB 54 will ensure that state and local police do not stray from protecting our communities to enforce federal immigration laws,” De León said in revealing the agreement with the governor.
“The protections provided by SB 54 will also ensure that undocumented residents can report crimes and assist in prosecutions without fear of deportation.”
Defenders of undocumented rights have increased petitions to sign this law to the governor in recent weeks, including immigrants such as Rómulo Avelica, the father of a family who was detained for six months after immigration was arrested in front of his daughter’s school , joined the call to Sacramento.
“I hope that this law can happen and that all (the immigrants) can feel protected by the authorities and not be thinking that they are going to deliver us to ‘la migra’,” he told Agencia EFE Avica.
California would be the second state to sign a law that limits the collaboration of local authorities with ICE agents, as the governor of Illinois signed the Trust Act less than a month ago, which will prohibit authorities in that state retains people for immigration purposes without court orders.