What to Know About California’s New “Sanctuary State” Bill

As was reported by the Los Angeles Times, California state lawmakers have voted in favor of a first-of-its-kind ‘sanctuary state’ bill. This bill, officially known as Senate Bill (SB) 54, extends critically important legal protections to immigrants in California. Now, the bill must go to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown for a final signature. Observers expect the bill to be signed into law, as Governor Brown and state Senate leader Kevin De León struck a deal earlier this month to make the legislation agreeable to branches of government. Here, our top-rated immigration lawyer in Los Angeles discusses some of the key provisions of this bill.

SB 54 Limits Cooperation With Immigration Enforcement

One of the most important things about California’s sanctuary state legislation is that it puts legal limits on the ways in which state and local officials can work with ICE agents and other federal immigration enforcement officers. California law enforcement officers, as well as other state officials, such as school administrators, are restricted from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement agencies in several different ways. Most notably, this bill dramatically restricts the authority of California state and local officials to detain people, at the behest of Immigration Customers and Enforcement (ICE).

The Bill Creates ‘Safe Zone’ Locations

Another key provision of California’s sanctuary state legislation is that it sets up certain areas as ‘safe zones’ from immigration enforcement. Specifically, California state legislators aimed to make sensitive locations, such as public schools, courthouses and certain health centers, free from any immigration enforcement action. This is extremely important, as it helps to ensure that all members of our community, regardless of immigration status, can access much-needed public services without fear or intimidation.

The Trump Administration is Expected to Sue

Should it be signed into law by Governor Brown, SB 54 is set to take effect on January 1st, 2018. However, in the interim, it is expected that the President Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) will bring a lawsuit against the state of California, seeking to block pieces of this bill. Previously, in public comments, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has described California’s sanctuary state bill as ‘unconscionable’. The DOJ under the leadership of Mr. Sessions has already attempted to cut off federal funding from sanctuary sites. Though, a lawsuit was filed by several of the affected cities, and a federal judge recently blocked the DOJ’s order. Our immigration law team will keep a close watch on any legal developments relating to California’s sanctuary state bill and any action taken by the Trump Administration.

We Support Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are proud to support immigrants and their families. If you are need of immigration law assistance, please do not hesitate to call us today to set up an immediate review of your case. From our office in the heart of Los Angeles, we serve communities throughout the region, including in Orange County, Ventura County and San Bernardino County.