In summary

California’s “sanctuary state” bill now has the backing of the governor after the measure’s author agreed to broaden the circumstances under which law enforcement could  cooperate with federal immigration officials. 

California’s “sanctuary state” bill now has the backing of the governor after the measure’s author agreed to broaden the circumstances under which law enforcement could  cooperate with federal immigration officials.

The bill is now expected to go before the Assembly by the end of the week, the last hurdle before landing on the governor’s desk.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, agreed to accept changes to the bill, expanding the number of crimes committed by undocumented immigrant that would trigger local police and sheriff’s deputies being able to interact with immigration agents. The original bill restricted law enforcement from responding to federal immigration authorities unless the feds’ requests pertained to those serving time in prison or convicted of a violent or serious felony—about 60 types of crimes. The amended version broadens that cooperation to cases in which undocumented immigrants have been convicted of any of some 800 crimes under the Trust Act—from violent felonies to lesser criminal acts.

The state’s Trust Act, approved in 2013, governs how long and when law enforcement agencies could hold an individual at the request of immigration authorities.

The bill, de León said in a statement, “continues to provide landmark protections for our undocumented community and prevents our state and local law enforcement resources from being diverted to tear families apart.  California will protect our communities from the Trump administration’s radical and hateful immigration policy agenda.”

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon earlier this year with supporters of sanctuary bill.

Gov. Brown had publicly expressed his concerns about the bill, saying those who commit significant crimes should not be in the U.S. In a statement today, he said the bill as amended “protects public safety and people who come to California to work hard and make this state a better place.”

The amendments to de León’s bill also would permit immigration officers to conduct interviews in jails. It also allows for transfers of individuals to immigration authorities under specific circumstances including the conviction of a crime on the Trust Act list and when the federal agency provides a judicial warrant for an individual.

De León introduced the bill shortly after President Trump took office. The president has made a crackdown on immigration one of his top priorities, promising to go after those in the country illegally and threatening local and state governments that claim sanctuary status and refuse to cooperate fully with federal officials.

Even with the concessions announced Monday, key immigrant advocates say they still support the bill.

The California Sheriff’s Association, however, continues to it despite the amendments, some suggested by the association during negotiations. “Our overarching concern remains that limiting local law enforcement’s ability to communicate and cooperate with federal law enforcement officers endangers public safety,” the association said in a statement. It also contended that the bill would keep local sheriffs from notifying immigration authorities about the pending release of repeat drunk drivers, people who assault peace officers, animal abusers and known criminal gang members arrested for misdemeanor crimes.

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Elizabeth Aguilera

Elizabeth Aguilera is an award-winning multimedia journalist who covers health and social services for CalMatters. She joined CalMatters in 2016 from Southern California Public Radio/KPCC 89.3 where she...