SANTA MARIA, Calif. - California is now officially a "sanctuary state" after Governor Brown signed controversial State Senate Bill 54 which limits local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
SB 54, called the California Values Act, was hard fought in the state legislature on its way to the Governor's desk over the issue of public safety versus protecting people living in California illegally.
SB 54 protects jail inmates from being held in custody until immigration agents can come and pick them up regardless of their immigration status.
The California State Sheriff's Association strongly opposed SB 54 saying, among other things, it protects so-called non-violent offenders including gang members, drug dealers and sex offenders from deportation.
SB 54 also protects illegal immigrants from deportation while at public schools, hospitals and courts.
"Today I am very pleased to announce the governor of the great State of California, Governor Jerry Brown, signed Senate Bill 54, the California Values Act", said Democrat Senator Kevin De Leon of Los Angeles who introduced SB 54 earlier this year in response to the Trump Administration's immigration policies, "our President is pursuing biased law enforcement policies based on the principles of white supremacy."
In a written statement after signing SB 54 into law Thursday, Governor Brown said the California Values Act "does not prevent or prohibit ICE or the Department of Homeland Security from doing their own work in any way. This protects public safety and ensures that hard working people who contribute to the state are respected."
The Trump Administration has been threatening to withhold federal funds from states that declare themselves as sanctuaries.
The California Values Act takes effect January 1, 2018.