Governor Brown Expands California’s Dangerous Sanctuary City Policies
By Shari Rendall
Last Thursday, Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) signed the so-called “California Values Act” (SB 54) and 10 other immigration bills that further expand the State’s sanctuary law and undermine federal immigration enforcement. Governor Brown said the new laws ensure “hardworking people who contribute to our state are respected.” Ultimately, these laws further place the interests of illegal aliens above its lawful residents.
SB 54 drastically undercuts what actions law enforcement officials may take. Beginning January 1, they will be barred from inquiring about the citizenship or immigration status of any individual they encounter, which hampers their ability to cooperate in immigration enforcement matters. It also prevents law enforcement from entering into any agreement or program with federal officials for training or participation in immigration enforcement, including the 287(g) program. Finally, officials will only be allowed to transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities if they have been convicted of certain crimes.
Among other things, the other bills signed by Governor Brown will significantly limit federal immigration officials from entering schools and workplaces without judicial warrants, prohibit landlords from reporting tenants to ICE, and prevent municipalities from contracting with for-profit companies and ICE to detain illegal aliens.
In response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Tom Homan said that Governor Brown’s actions “will undermine public safety and hinder ICE from performing its federally mandated mission. The governor is simply wrong when he claims otherwise.” Further he continued, “ICE will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community. ICE will also likely have to detain individuals arrested in California in detention facilities outside of the state, far from any family they may have in California.”
ICE recently provided a glimpse into its decision to allocate more resources toward enforcement of immigration laws in sanctuary jurisdictions during “Operation Safe City.” During this four-day operation, ICE agents targeted individuals who have violated U.S. immigration laws, prioritizing aliens with criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, known gang members, immigration fugitives, and illegal re-entrants. In total, ICE arrested 498 individuals from 42 countries.