California Gov. Jerry Brown placed new limitations on state and local law enforcement’s ability to help the federal government enforce immigration violations by signing California’s controversial “sanctuary state” bill into law, the Sacramento Bee reports. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León introduced the bill after the 2016 election to stifle President Trump’s campaign pledge to ramp up deportations and to prevent the federal government from using California police officers to accomplish his goal. Brown signed nearly a dozen immigration-related bills Thursday. Others prohibit landlords from reporting their undocumented renters, bar employers from authorizing workplace raids by federal immigration enforcement officials, and allow students whose parents are deported to continue attending California schools.
The “sanctuary state” measure, a hallmark of the state’s so-called “resistance” to the White House, became a controversial topic and prompted U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement to campaign against it alongside the California State Sheriffs’ Association. Brown demanded a 12-fold increase in the types of prior convictions that exclude immigrants from most protections under the bill – from 65 different serious and violent felonies to over 800 crimes, including some misdemeanors. Brown’s amendments also gave federal immigration agents access to interview immigrants in jails and exempted the California Department of Corrections from the measure. Brown said, “These are uncertain times for undocumented citizens 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.”