Politics

Local Assemblyman Cunningham opposes "sanctuary state" bill

Governor expected to sign SB 54

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Governor Brown is expected to sign an historic bill into law that would make California the first so-called "sanctuary state" in the nation.

The anticipated move comes after an emotional and heated debate in the State Assembly on a final vote for SB 54 or the California Values Act.

The final vote was 49 to 25 in favor of the bill which then returned to the State Senate where it passed 27-11.

Central Coast Republican Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-35th District) was among those who spoke against SB 54.

"This bill, I have no doubt, compromises public safety", Cunningham said on the Assembly floor before the final vote was taken, "it protects suspected criminals from deportation at the expense of law abiding residents including the ones in their communities."

SB 54, or the California Values Act, restricts how state and local law enforcement notify and work with federal immigration authorities when illegal immigrants are arrested and taken into custody.

California police chiefs are neutral on the controversial legislation but county sheriffs oppose it with some saying it allows undocumented gang members, drug dealers, sex offenders and other, so-called non-violent offenders to avoid deportation.

Some Democrats in the State Assembly crossed party lines in voting against the bill.

"I've supported legal and undocumented immigrants but I draw the line with the bad guys", said Democrat Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, "I believe the bad guys in our immigrant communities should be deported."

Democrat supporters in the Assembly said SB 54 will protect innocent families from being torn apart by deportation.

Other Democrats hope SB 54 will ensure that people in California illegally will feel safe reporting crimes to law enforcement.

"It's real fear", said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, "the kind that makes people stop you on the street and well up in tears, of families being torn apart because we have not fixed a broken immigration system."

Governor Brown has until October 15 to sign SB 54 into law.


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