Ahead of an expected hardline approach on illegal immigration under President-elect Donald Trump, California officials are proposing to further restrict the ability of federal authorities to detain and deport the approximately 2.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the state.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, on Wednesday announced a bill that would prohibit state and local law enforcement, including school police and security departments, from using their resources for immigration enforcement.
Senate Bill 54 would also create “safe zones” at public schools, hospitals and courthouses where immigrant enforcement would be banned, and require state agencies to update their confidentiality policies so that information on individuals’ immigration status is not shared for enforcement purposes.
“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 overreaching mass-deportation policy,” de León said in a statement. “We will not stand by and let the federal government use our state and local agencies to separate mothers from their children.”
Trump has raised the alarm of California’s large Latino population and Democratic political leaders by promising to deport or jail perhaps as many as 3 million undocumented immigrants who are criminals.
They have already vowed to resist his policies, including by introducing measures this week to provide legal assistance for immigrants facing deportation proceedings, though de León’s statement also made clear that SB 54 would not prevent law enforcement from complying with warrants to transfer violent offenders into federal custody.
Deportations previously reached record levels under President Barack Obama – more than 2.5 million by 2015. California officials responded with the “Trust Act,” a 2013 law limiting the state’s cooperation with federal enforcement, including forbidding state and local agencies from holding undocumented immigrants at the request of federal authorities.