California’s new sanctuary-state law is putting people at risk, public safety officials tell the Washington Post. Growing opposition to the law is challenging California’s identity as the heart of liberal resistance to the Trump administration. Protests from conservative residents and politicians are emerging in courthouses and council meetings from the Bay Area to San Diego County. Known officially as the California Values Act, the law prohibits nearly all communication between local law enforcement officials and federal immigration agents. At Santa Rita Jail, which takes in between 400 and 500 people a day, 35 inmates have been met by ICE agents so far this year, a number that the jail’s commander believes should be far higher. “We constantly have to second-guess ourselves,” said Capt. Derrick Hesselein. There are exceptions to the law for when ICE requests information about undocumented inmates with serious criminal pasts.
Those legal thresholds are high, which the measure’s supporters say are necessary to prevent undocumented immigrants who do not pose a public-safety threat from being swept up in deportations. In recent weeks, more than a dozen small cities and three counties in California have joined the Trump administration’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the sanctuary-state law. There is a sense among conservatives facing a difficult midterm election season that California has become “a rogue state,” in the words of a San Diego County supervisor who voted to join the federal lawsuit last month. A survey by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California at Berkeley found that the state’s conflicting views on the issue endure: Nearly two in three respondents supported the principles of the sanctuary-state law, agreeing that local school, law enforcement and medical officials should limit contact with federal authorities. But 59 percent of all respondents also advocated an increase in deportations.