If passed, pending legislation in California would build a “big, beautiful wall” between local law enforcement and Donald Trump’s mass deportation machine. Though the state’s already taken significant strides in the resistance to the Trump regime’s racist, anti-immigrant agenda, advocates say that SB 54—dubbed the “California Values Act” by its chief sponsor, Senate President Kevin de León—stands to be “the most strident anti-deportation bill the country has ever seen:”
“By drawing a bright line between federal immigration enforcement and local policing,” the New York Times noted in an editorial in support of the measure last year, “the California Values Act would promote smarter, more effective law enforcement”:
It would bar state or local resources from being used for immigration enforcement, a strictly federal duty. No state or local law enforcement agency would be allowed to detain or transfer anyone for deportation without a judicial warrant.
Nothing in the bill would obstruct the federal government. This is not a nullification of federal laws or a rebellion against the Constitution. It’s upholding the Fourth Amendment, preventing unreasonable search and seizure, so mothers and fathers can go to work and children go to school without fear of losing one another. It’s upholding the First Amendment, so day laborers can solicit work on a sidewalk. It’s allowing the local police to keep the trust and cooperation of crime victims and witnesses, who will not fear every encounter as a prelude to deportation.
“To the millions of undocumented residents pursuing and contributing to the California Dream, the State of California will be your wall of justice should the incoming Administration adopt an inhumane and over-reaching mass-deportation policy,” said Sen. de León. “We will not stand by and let the federal government use our state and local agencies to separate mothers from their children.”
Studies have shown that pro-immigrant policies make communities safer, because “when victims of crime don't come forward for fear of immigration consequences, the impact on public safety reaches far beyond immigrant communities,” said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, himself a former police chief. The California Values Act would be a continuation of the state’s pro-immigrant legacy and block ICE from terrorizing immigrant communities.
It’s no surprise, then, why it’s facing vocal opposition from the Trump-allied California Sheriff’s Association. Local sheriffs make millions renting out jails to be used as ICE detention centers, and last year the group released a gushing letter in support of Jeff Sessions’s attorney general nomination, saying that his “experience will be an effective asset for our country.” Several sheriffs including LA County’s Jim McDonnell have even been lobbying state senators to vote against the bill when it comes up for a vote on Monday.
With Trump recently doubling-down on his threat to pull funding from pro-immigrant states, the California Values Act’s supporters are urging advocates to fight back and urge state leaders to overwhelmingly pass the legislation Monday. “We want to make sure we send a clear message to Trump’s puppet,” said Salvado Sarmiento, an organizer with immigrant rights group NDLON. ““There are no excuses why any Los Angeles sheriff would ever do Trump’s dirty work in this city—it’s shameful.”
Click here to sign and send a petition to California’s state senators asking them to vote YES on the California Values Act and defend immigrant families from Donald Trump's anti-immigrant agenda.