California Doubles Down Yet Again on Privileges For Illegal Aliens
By Shari Rendall | September 21, 2018
In the final days of its regular session, California’s state legislature passed two more bills that highlight the Golden State’s ever-expanding commitment to elevating the rights of illegal aliens.
Senate Bill (SB) 174: Illegal Aliens in Public Office
Sponsored by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), one of the California Senate’s most prolific authors of reckless open-borders legislation, this bill would:
- State the intent of the legislature to “authorize all California residents, including those without lawful immigration status” to serve on public boards and commissions;
- Define citizens of the state to include both 1) anyone born in the state and residing in it and 2) all US citizens born elsewhere and residing in it;
- Allow any citizen of the state 18 years of age or over to serve in elected civil public office;
- Allow any “resident” of the state (not limited to lawful residents) 18 years of age or over to serve in appointed civil public office; and
- Authorize illegal aliens appointed to civil public office to “receive any form of compensation that the person is not otherwise prohibited from receiving pursuant to federal law,” including as examples — but not limited to — stipends, grants or reimbursement of personal expenses.
In short, as long as a job is appointed rather than elected, and civil rather than military, illegal aliens would no longer be barred from it. This legislation would allow illegal aliens to serve as secretaries of whole statewide departments, criminal prosecutors in the Attorney General’s or local District Attorney’s office, and members of the state parole board or any appointed city or county board. Paying them would be a federal crime (8 U.S. Code § 1324a), however, the bill’s compensation language tries to get around that as well.
It passed the Assembly on August 20 by a vote of 46-26, and the Senate on August 24, by vote of 26-11, overwhelmingly along party lines.
Senate Bill (SB) 349: ICE out of Courthouses
Senator Lara also sponsored a bill to stop or restrict Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from making arrests in state or local government buildings, particularly courthouses. This legislation is substantially similar to one recently passed in Illinois that was vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner (R). In summary, the California bill:
- Creates a “privilege from civil arrest,” stating that no one may “subject to civil arrest of any type in a courthouse while attending a court proceeding or having legal business in the courthouse;”
- Grants the state’s courts power to “protect” this “privilege,” including by punishment for contempt and by issuing writs of habeas corpus (ordering people’s release from custody);
- Grants the state’s Attorney General power to sue to stop anyone from violating the “privilege,” as well as to recover court costs and attorneys’ fees in any such lawsuits;
- May set up situations where compliance with state law amounts to a federal crime, e.g., harboring aliens (8 U.S.C. § 1324), obstruction of proceedings before federal agencies (18 U.S.C. § 1505), or others;
- Undermines the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution by attempting to regulate and interfere with federal agencies and the enforcement of federal law.
Yet according to ICE itself, it’s preferable to make arrests at courthouses, “[b]ecause courthouse visitors are typically screened upon entry to search for weapons and other contraband, so the safety risks for the arresting officers, the arrestee, and members of the community are substantially diminished”, and also because “tracking down priority fugitives is highly resource-intensive.“ This is particularly true in sanctuary jurisdictions like California where ICE now rarely (if ever) has access to the more-secure controlled environment of a local jail. Barring ICE from the courthouse door needlessly endangers federal law officials as well as community residents.
SB 349 was passed on the last day of the legislative session.
It is likely that California Governor Jerry Brown (D) will sign both of these bills.