California might take a huge step to protect undocumented immigrants from Trump

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Lawmakers in California will reportedly take up debate this week on a proposed measure to extend "sanctuary" protections for undocumented immigrants across the entire state.


The "California Values Act," introduced by Senate Leader Kevin de León, would:

Among other things, prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies and school police and security departments from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.

In other words, the bill would transform California as a whole into a "sanctuary state"—one in which the job of identifying and processing undocumented immigrants would fall in most instances solely on federal authorities. State and local law enforcement agencies would provide no help whatsoever.

According to The Hill, the California Values Act will be presented to a state Senate committee on Tuesday.

The bill, officially "SB-54," was introduced this past December by de León, who addressed his state's millions of undocumented immigrants at the time, saying, "the state of California will be your wall of justice should the incoming administration adopt an inhumane and over-reaching mass-deportation policy."

De León's proposal takes on an added air of importance given the Trump administration's vow to punish sanctuary cities—of which California has many—for undermining his immigration crackdown. On January 25, Trump unveiled plans to target cities which had enacted measures to protect undocumented immigrants by, among other things, withholding federal funds and publishing a list of crimes committed by undocumented individuals in those communities.


Trump has long claimed that his immigration crackdown would target undocumented individuals with criminal records first and foremost —a concern de León addressed in December when he proposed his bill.

"Nobody wants bad people in our communities or neighborhoods or in our streets,” he told the New York Times. “[Local law enforcement will] always go after the rapist, the violent criminal drug dealer; we’ve made that abundantly clear.”


California's legislature has been repeatedly vocal about its fight against Trump, having passed a resolution condemning the president's immigration ban.

"Immigrants are a part of California’s history, our culture, and our society," California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-LA) said in response to the president's recent actions. "We are telling the next Administration and Congress: if you want to get to them, you have to go through us.


Nevertheless, given Trump's increasingly bellicose threats to sanctuary cities over the past week, it's safe to say any legislation to expand those protections to an entire state—particularly one with as large a Latinx and foreign-born population as California—would face harsh reprisals from the current administration.