California Is Officially a Sanctuary State

“California’s local law enforcement cannot be commandeered by the Trump Administration to tear families apart.”

Sipa USA/AP

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Thursday making California a “sanctuary state,” with strict limitations on when its law enforcement officers can interrogate or detain individuals at the request of federal immigration authorities.

California’s local law enforcement cannot be commandeered and used by the Trump Administration to tear families apart, undermine our safety, and wreak havoc on our economy,” State Senator Kevin de León, a co-author of the bill, said at a press event to honor the signing of Senate Bill 54, the California Values Act. The legislation is one of many sanctuary city and state policies being enacted across the country in places such as Denver, Colo.Illinois, and Oregon in response to the federal crackdown on immigration. California has the largest number of immigrants in the US, and it housed roughly a quarter of the country’s undocumented immigrant population in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center.

President Donald Trump has threatened to withhold federal funds from government entities that adopt so-called sanctuary policies. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions had already condemned California’s SB54, beseeching Gov. Brown to reject it. “The bill risks the safety of good law enforcement officers and the safety of the neighborhoods that need their protection the most,” he said last month.

At the SB54 press event, held at a charter school in Los Angeles, de León and local nonprofits and immigrant rights organizations gathered to show support for the legislation—which goes into effect in January 2018—and voice their fears and criticisms of the current presidential administration. 

“Our president is pursuing biased law enforcement policies based on the principals of white supremacy, not American values,” de León said. “We will not stand idly by as President Trump and our Attorney General Jeff Sessions seek to divide this nation by scapegoating honest, hard-working families and casting immigrants as threats to be neutralized.”

Watch the full event: