Crime & Justice

California lawmakers vote for stronger immigrant protections

An immigrant detainee sits in a cell at the privately operated Adelanto Detention Facility in this file photo. In a bid to strengthen protections for immigrants in the country illegally, California lawmakers passed a bill Thursday to prohibit law enforcement from detaining a crime victim or witness for a suspected or actual immigration violation.
An immigrant detainee sits in a cell at the privately operated Adelanto Detention Facility in this file photo. In a bid to strengthen protections for immigrants in the country illegally, California lawmakers passed a bill Thursday to prohibit law enforcement from detaining a crime victim or witness for a suspected or actual immigration violation.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Lawmakers in the California Assembly have voted to strengthen protections for immigrants in the country illegally who are victims or witnesses of crimes.

Lawmakers passed a bill Thursday to prohibit law enforcement from detaining a crime victim or witness for a suspected or actual immigration violation. The bill still requires approval by the state Senate and a signature from the governor.

Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer said his bill will help people cooperate with law enforcement.

Police are already prohibited from detaining people who report or are assisting with investigations of hate crimes for immigration violations. The Los Angeles Democrat's bill, AB493, would extend the protection to victims and witnesses of all crimes.'

The bill is one of several proposed this session to strengthen protections for immigrants in California.