Submitted by Toni McGowan
A bill making its way through the California State Legislature will limit sharing of immigration status by schools and law enforcement. “Senate Bill (SB) 54 Law enforcement: sharing data,” was first introduced in December 2016 to limit policing practices statewide. The bill is coauthored by Coronado’s Senator, Toni Atkins, of the 39th District.
A portion of the bill introduces the “California Values Act” and upholds that illegal immigrants are “essential members of the California community” and as such, have access to services without fear of immigration status excluding them. The authors seek to “ensure effective policing, to protect the safety, well-being, and constitutional rights of the people of California.”
Currently, local police can ascertain immigration status and notify Homeland Security, Border Patrol, or other immigration enforcement agencies, who then step in. In contrast, SB 54 prohibits “state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.”
If the bill passes as is, by April 1, 2018, California Attorney General will publish best practices and policies to limit immigration “enforcement to the fullest extent possible.”
In addition, SB 54 prohibits notification of incarcerated individuals’ immigration status upon their release from custody; except under specific crimes. Homeland Security, ICE, and other protective agencies would be prohibited from keeping databases, lists, or using outside agencies to store immigration data.
The additional costs to local agencies and schools are, “according to the California Constitution,” reimbursed by the State.
Author of the bill is Senator De León in the Los Angeles area. Principal coauthors are Senators – Atkins-Coronado to Solano Beach, Beall-Santa Clara region, Pan-Sacramento area, and Wiener-San Francisco/San Mateo areas, plus, Assembly Members – Bonta, Chiu, Cooper, Gomez, Levine, Reyes, and Santiago. The bill was last amended July 2017.
Former San Diego City Councilperson, Rick DeMaio, is outspoken against SB 54, calling it an effort to “make California a Sanctuary State,” and has circulated a petition opposing it.