A family of immigrants in a sanctuary state.

Is California a Sanctuary State?

  • Dec 20 2019

While there is no exact definition of a sanctuary state or a sanctuary city, it has generally come to mean that a place has enacted laws aimed to help and limit the deportation of undocumented residents. Usually, this means that laws have been put in place that limits an area’s cooperation with the national government’s attempts at enforcing immigration law. 

Sanctuary cities and states make these efforts to reduce undocumented residents’ fear of deportation and the possibility of their families being separated. Advocates of such legal measures say that these people live in fear to such an extent that they refrain from reporting crimes. They are also afraid to take steps to improve the well being of their family, such as using health and social services or enrolling their children in school

California as a Sanctuary State

In October of 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law what has been referred to as the “sanctuary state” bill. This bill effectively made California a sanctuary state. The law placed restrictions on how much local law enforcement could cooperate with federal immigration enforcement authorities. While other states have passed laws that seek to protect immigrants, the California bill is seen as the most comprehensive measure yet. The bill includes things such as treating schools, courthouses, and hospitals as “safe zones.” Additionally, the bill restricts the ability of local law enforcement to detain people on behalf of federal immigration authorities.

This high-profile step in pushing back against the Trump Administration immigration policies caused a major divide in the state to form. Critics of the bill, such as the California State Sheriffs’ Association, assert that the bill jeopardizes the safety of the entire state. With the bill limiting local law enforcement’s ability to interact with and aid federal officials, dangerous criminals may run free. This is one of the main reasons that, prior to signing the bill, Governor Brown negotiated some changes to the bill that allowed for things like local law enforcement cooperating with federal officials in cases when particular types of crimes were involved.

Proponents of the bill and supporters of what the bill intends to accomplish look to remind Californians that approximately 10 million immigrants live in the state and about 25% of them are believed to be undocumented. The bill intends to make this substantial population group feel safe to send their kids to school, seek much needed medical and social services, as well as report crimes. These are things that make all California residents safer. Everyone benefits from immigrants feeling safe enough to report criminal activity and aid with investigations.

Trusted Immigration Attorney

These are trying times for the immigration community in the U.S. There seems to be a wave of uncertainty hovering in the air and a lot of fear. Talamantes Immigration Law Firm will provide you with dependable immigration legal counsel. Let us help you explore your options and counsel you on what is best for you and your loved ones. Contact Talamantes Immigration Law Firm today.

Posted in: Immigration Law