SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The sanctuary state debate is intensifying just two days after the controversial bill cleared another hurdle in the California Assembly.
“Don’t interfere with my ability to protect my community,” said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson.
Senate Bill 54 would prevent local law enforcement from helping federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents conduct their work.
“All that does is put our community at risk,” said Christianson.
He says they allow ICE into their jail, but don’t seek out undocumented immigrants.
“We are not going out and specifically looking for people who are illegal in this country,” said Christianson.
But federal immigration officials are. Last week agents swept up 54 undocumented immigrants in the Central Valley, according to ICE records. They were targeting convicted criminals and fugitives, although a handful of people with no criminal history did get picked up.
SB54’s author, Senate Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, countered Christianson’s claims in a statement that says in part, “There’s overwhelming evidence from across our state and the nation showing that ICE is in fact targeting non-criminal undocumented immigrants.”
According to the Sanctuary State bill, local law enforcement would be barred from helping federal ICE agents.
“It’s just bad policy because it’s a politically motivated bill,” said Assemblyman Heath Flora. The Republican voted against the bill in the Assembly Public Safety Committee. The bill ultimately passed out of committee on party lines 5 to 2.
Flora says the bill is more of a reaction to President Donald Trump’s rhetoric.
“There is a lot of work in my estimation that needs to be done to make this bill much much better,” said Flora.
But supporters say the bill it is a good step for immigrant protections.
“Letting them know that they do have rights they do have due process rights,” said Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio.
Rubio recently revealed that she came to America as an undocumented immigrant and was even deported once as a child.
Rubio, who has since gained citizenship says the bill will ease some fears for undocumented immigrants who stay out of trouble.
“Stay within the law and follow the law,” said Rubio, “but still maintain caution that if you’re undocumented, ICE still has the authority to take you.”
SB54 will next be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.