Politics

​California Senate OKs statewide immigrant 'sanctuary' bill

Maya Casillas, 7, (R), joins migrant rights groups during a vigil to protest against US President Donald Trump's new crackdown on
Maya Casillas, 7, (R), joins migrant rights groups during a vigil to protest against US President Donald Trump's new crackdown on "sanctuary cities," outside the City Hall in Los Angeles on January 25, 2017.
MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

California lawmakers gave initial approval Monday to a measure that prevents law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials, a measure that proponents said rebukes President Donald Trump for his immigration crackdown.

It makes California a statewide sanctuary for many people who are in the country illegally.

The state Senate passed the measure on a 27-12 vote, sending it to the state Assembly over the objection of opponents who said it endangers the public by shielding felons from being deported.

The bill, SB54, advanced after Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Democrat from Los Angeles, amended it to let state and local law enforcement notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement federal agents before convicted serious or violent felons are released from custody.

De Leon also stripped the bill of a provision that would have required a two-thirds vote. Passing the measure with a simple majority means it wouldn't take effect until Jan. 1, while the previous version would have taken effect immediately.

"We will cooperate with our friends at the federal level with serious and violent felons. But we won't cooperate or lift a finger or spend a single cent when we're talking about separating children from their mothers, mothers from their children," de Leon said. "That's not who we are as a great state."

Trump in January signed an order threatening to withdraw federal grants from jurisdictions that bar officials from communicating with federal authorities about someone's immigration status.

"By passing this today you'll be kicking the president right in the groin, and I can imagine he's going to strike back," said Republican Sen. Jeff Stone of Temecula.

Lawmakers in the nation's most populous state also advanced two other bills they attempt to impede the president's immigration policies.

They sent the Assembly a bill, SB6, that would provide $12 million to pay lawyers for immigrants facing deportation, and another measure, SB31, that would bar state officials from sharing data if the federal government creates a Muslim registry.

California is home to an estimated 2.3 million immigrants who do not have legal authorization. San Francisco, which is among cities with its own sanctuary law, is suing over Trump's executive order.