SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The debate over immigration is heating up at the state Capitol.
A bill that will label California as a sanctuary state cleared a critical hurdle Wednesday, sailing through an Assembly Judiciary Committee, months after passing the Senate along party lines.
Senator Kevin de Leon made his case again on his signature sanctuary state bill, officially known as Senate Bill 54, in response to President Trump's deportation crackdown.
"During the Trump administration, the first 100 days, arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record has jumped to 150% during the same period as last year. We will protect those who contribute to making California the sixth largest economy in the world," said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles).
He vows to stop state and local cops from helping the feds enforce immigration law. Under the measure, ICE agents would no longer be allowed to go into jails to deport undocumented prisoners and they'd have restricted access to state databases. The proposal is vehemently rejected by Republican lawmakers and California sheriffs worried about losing federal funding and their grip on dangerous criminals.
"It is in the interest of all of our communities and especially the immigrant community that dangerous offenders in this country illegally be deported," said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, also President of CA State Sheriff's Association.
De Leon maintains his bill will allow authorities to respond to ICE inquiries, only about convicted violent offenders. And support is strong, from union groups representing undocumented workers to faith-based organizations that shield immigrant families. First in line is former state Supreme Court judge Cruz Reynoso, who's the son of Mexican immigrants and a professor of law at UC Davis.
"It's up to the federal government to enforce federal laws and the state doesn't need to cooperate with the federal government," he said.
The bill moves on to just one more committee hearing for a final stamp of approval before moving on to the Assembly floor for its final vote.
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