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California Senate approves 'sanctuary state' bill

Approval of the bill is a defiance of federal immigration policy.

By
Ed Adamczyk
Protesters rally against President Donald Trump's immigration order -- which barred entry by refugees of majority-Muslim countries -- on January 29 in front of the Tom Bradley Terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles. The California Senate voted Monday to pass a bill focusing on a different group of immigrants -- those without documentation. The bill declares California a sanctuary state, meaning it will not help federal immigration enforcement unless dealing with undocumented immigrants convicted of a prior violent crime. Photo by Christine Chew/UPI
Protesters rally against President Donald Trump's immigration order -- which barred entry by refugees of majority-Muslim countries -- on January 29 in front of the Tom Bradley Terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles. The California Senate voted Monday to pass a bill focusing on a different group of immigrants -- those without documentation. The bill declares California a sanctuary state, meaning it will not help federal immigration enforcement unless dealing with undocumented immigrants convicted of a prior violent crime. Photo by Christine Chew/UPI | License Photo

April 4 (UPI) -- The California Senate passed a bill barring local and state law enforcement from helping federal immigration enforcement.

Approval of the bill is seen as defiance of President Donald Trump's immigration policies.

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Senate Bill 54, the "sanctuary state" bill, was passed by a 27-12 vote along party lines on Monday evening, with Democrats supporting the measure and Republicans s opposing it. The bill will go to the State Assembly, where Democrats hold a majority, and if approved, to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, who introduced the bill, called its passage a "rejection of President Trump's false and cynical portrayal of undocumented residents as a lawless community."

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The bill bars state and local law enforcement agencies from using their resources to help in federal immigration enforcement. Inquiring about immigration status, providing federal immigration authorities access to interview a person in custody or assisting in immigration enforcement would be prohibited under the bill.

Exceptions are included in the bill; it allows local agencies to transfer individuals to federal immigration authorities if a judicial warrant is present, or if the person has been previously convicted of a violent felony. It also requires notification to federal authorities of releases of those convicted of violent felonies.

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"Our precious local law enforcement resources will be squandered if police are pulled from their duties to arrest otherwise law-abiding maids, busboys, laborers, mothers and fathers. Trust will be lost. Crimes will go unreported for fear of deportation." de Leon said {link:in a statement. : "http://sd24.senate.ca.gov/news/2017-04-03-california-senate-leader-statement-senate-passage-california-values-act-sb-54" target="_blank"}

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The population of California's undocumented immigrants ranges between 2.35 million and 2.6 million people, the Public Policy Institute of California has estimated. Several cities and counties in the state already have "sanctuary" policies in place. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has threatened to deny some federal funding to municipalities and states that do not comply with federal immigration laws.

RELATED Poll: 60% say employed undocumented immigrants should stay

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