One of the main issues with setting up California as a so-called "sanctuary state" has been whether law enforcement could support it. The California Senate has just passed the California Values Act, a pro-sanctuary bill, with overall support from law enforcement. The bill's author, State Senator Kevin de Leon, worked closely with law enforcement and passed several amendments to meet their needs.
"The California Values Act is absolutely consistent with the values of the Los Angeles Police Department," said LA police chief Charlie Beck. "All of our concerns were addressed." He said his department is dedicated to focusing on violent criminals regardless of whether they are unauthorized immigrants, and that they want to be able to leverage immigration status when it helps enforce the law.
De Leon stressed that the sanctuary bill was never intended to give immigrants a free pass when they commit crimes. The law, which keeps state and local law enforcement independent from federal immigration authorities, is about public safety.
As Sacramento's police captain said, the bill is about maintaining the hard-built trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities.
"If any immigrant - undocumented or otherwise - is afraid to approach law enforcement out of fear about questions of their status," said Los Angeles' Chief of Immigration Affairs, "it erodes our public trust that is essential to all our public safety."
The bill passed the senate in April and the Assembly's public safety committee passed it last week. The Trump Administration has threatened to withhold federal funding from cities and states who refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities.
In this charged environment, immigrants are at high risk. If you believe you could have an immigration-related issue in the future, it's a good idea to build a relationship with an immigration lawyer now.