Governor Signs SB 54 – the California Values Act

Governor Jerry Brown sent the following statement:

To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am signing Senate Bill 54, the California Values Act.

This bill states that local authorities will not ask about immigration status during routine interactions. It also bans unconstitutional detainer requests and prohibits the commandeering of local officials to do the work of immigration agents. The bill further directs our Attorney General to promulgate model policies for local and state health, education, labor and judiciary officials to follow when they deal with immigration matters.

In enshrining these new protections, it is important to note what the bill does not do. This bill does not prevent or prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Homeland Security from doing their own work in any way. They are free to use their own considerable resources to enforce federal immigration law in California. Moreover, the bill does not prohibit sheriffs from granting immigration authorities access to California jails to conduct routine interviews, nor does it prevent cooperation in deportation proceedings for anyone in state prison or for those in
local jails for any of the hundreds of serious offenses listed in the TRUST Act.

These are uncertain times for undocumented Californians and their families, and this bill strikes a balance that will protect public safety, while bringing a measure of comfort to those families who are now living in fear every day.

California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on the signing of Senate Bill 54, the California Values Act:

The California Values Act is now law of the land, from San Diego to Eureka, from the Nevada border to the Pacific Ocean.

California’s local law enforcement cannot be commandeered and used by the Trump Administration to tear families apart, undermine our safety, and wreak havoc on our economy.

The California Values Act will limit immigration enforcement actions at public schools, hospitals and courthouses where all California residents should feel safe, regardless of immigration status.

I want to thank Governor Brown for his engagement on SB 54 and his understanding of its importance to the millions of California residents it seeks to protect. I also want to thank the many organizations and law enforcement who supported SB 54 and work tirelessly every day to protect and uplift those who have contributed so much to our culture and economy

The signing of SB 54 comes at a critical time in our nation’s history.

With the election of Donald Trump, we have witnessed a growing racial divide we have not seen in decades.

Over and over again the President has deployed fear and division to advance his ambitions. The result of this constant barrage of dog whistles is a sickening rise in racism turning American against American.

We will not stand idly by as President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions seek to divide this nation by scapegoating honest, hardworking families and casting immigrants as threats to be neutralized.

Californians simply will not divert its public safety assets to stalk law-abiding immigrants and undermine the safety in our communities in the process.

The California Values Act won’t stop ICE from trolling our streets — it will not provide full sanctuary — but it will put a kink in Trump’s perverse and inhumane deportation machine.

California is building a wall of justice against President Trump’s xenophobic, racist and ignorant immigration policies.

We will resist and we will overcome, and we will prove to the nation there is a hopeful future for our country where we cherish diversity and respect our immigrant heritage.”

ACLU Applauds Governor Brown for Signing California Values Act (SB 54)

The bill, commonly known as the “Sanctuary State” bill, will limit state and local police’s role in deportations:

(From Press Release) -Today, Governor Brown signed SB 54, the California Values Act, a bill introduced by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) to protect the rights of immigrants living in the state. In response, Jennie Pasquarella, Immigrants’ Rights Director with the ACLU of California, had this to say:

“Today, Governor Brown acknowledged the voice and views of Californians across the state who worked day and night to ensure President Trump did not conscript California’s state and local police into his national deportation force. With the stroke of a pen, the governor made good on his promise to ‘defend everybody – every man, woman and child – who has come here for a better life and has contributed to the well-being of our state.’

“With the California Values Act, California not only stands with millions of immigrants who call our great state home – today, California stands on the right side of history.”

The California Values Act (SB 54) will

  • Prohibit local law enforcement from automatically transferring people to federal immigration authorities, with some exceptions.
  • Protect against unconstitutional detentions by barring local law enforcement from holding someone in custody, beyond their release date, for immigration agents.
  • Ensure that California schools, hospitals, libraries, and courthouses remain safe and accessible spaces for everyone in California.

The bill will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Alan Miller

    The California Values Act is now law of the land, from San Diego to Eureka, from the Nevada border to the Pacific Ocean.

    San Ysidro and McKinleyville are screwed.

    1. Eric Gelber

      From the Assembly Judiciary Committee analysis:

      This bill does not appear to run afoul of federal law. Federal law provides that a state law “may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.” (8 U.S.C. 1373.) It does not interfere with or obstruct the enforcement of federal immigration programs by federal law enforcement officers. Nothing in federal law requires state and local law enforcement officials to assist federal immigration enforcement efforts, or prohibits state and local officials from refusing to do so. Given that federal law only authorizes, but does not require, state and local officers to act as immigration officers, SB 54 does not conflict with federal law and can appropriately determine that such cooperation is not in the state’s best interests. Finally, the bill is not otherwise preempted by federal immigration law. 

      1. David Greenwald

        Which leads to an interesting question – why not just pass legislation if you are the Republican congress that requires states to enforce immigration laws.  It will get challenged in court of course, but then the courts can rule and decide.

        1. Keith O

          I thought that’s what laws were already for, that you had to adhere to them.  So now we need to pass a law that dictates that a state has to obey a law?  We shouldn’t need to have to do that.

        2. Eric Gelber

          This is a complicated area of law. It involves the 10th Amendment and what’s known as the “anti-commandeering doctrine.” It’s not an issue of merely following federal law; it’s an issue of whether the federal government can require states to use their resources to enforce federal law. States have a lot of discretion about how to utilize their resources. States can’t obstruct but they don’t have to help. Enforcement of federal marijuana laws is an example.

        3. Keith O

          Officer stops me, “Sir, you were speeding, going 75 in a 65 zone, you broke the law”.

          Me, “Is there a law that states that I have to follow that law?”

        4. Eric Gelber

          Keith – You apparently didn’t read, or didn’t understand, my last comment. Your example is not on point for a number of reasons, and does not raise 10th Amendment issues

  2. Alan Miller

    the California Values Act

    Someone should create legislation for the “prevention of stupid names for bills act”.  California Dems and Brown are notorious.  “dreamers”, “California values” Orwell is smiling.  Also current admin very good at misnaming initiatives that they don’t like to bias the meaning.

    1. H Jackson

      I think they were inspired by earlier Congressional legislation, like the “Patriot Act” and the “Clear Skies Act.”  “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

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