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On the verge of enactment, the California Values Act (SB 54) would separate local law enforcement from the Trump Administration’s deportation force. The goal is to ensure that local law enforcement prioritize the prevention of crime and not the deportation of immigrants. Championed by Senate leader Kevin de Leon and backed by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and former Attorney General Eric Holder, the bill would encourage immigrants to report crimes and serve as witnesses, without fear that contact with local police could result in being reported to federal immigration agents and being ripped away from their families.
Jazmine Ulloa of the Los Angeles Times reports that representatives from the California State Sheriffs Association, a group that opposes the bill, are in discussions with Governor Jerry Brown (D) about stripping the bill of meaningful protections for immigrants and local communities interested in building trust between immigrants and local law enforcement.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:
Throughout America, there is a battle between enlightened local and state leaders and the Trump Administration. Many jurisdictions are enacting policies that put public safety first by ensuring that undocumented immigrants can interact with local police without fearing deportation. Meanwhile, Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions cast all undocumented immigrants as criminals and are attempting to bully local jurisdictions into colluding with federal agents so the federal government can arrest and deport millions of immigrants with deep ties to the country they now call home.
California has the opportunity to lead the country in saying no to the mass deportation agenda of Trump and Sessions. But will Governor Brown stand up for public safety, Chief Beck and the millions of immigrants who live in his state? Or will he be bullied by Trump, Sessions and the sheriffs who are doing the Trump Administration’s bidding?
This is a moment of truth – for California, for the nation and for those committed to standing up to Trump’s cruel and costly deportation push. Do the smart thing, Governor Brown. Do the right thing.