California Values Act – Aimed at Providing Greater Protection to California Immigrants

On October 5, 2017, the Governor approved Senate Bill 54 (“SB-54”). This bill, among other things and subject to exceptions, “prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using money or personnel to investigate interrogate detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.”

Included within this Bill is Chapter 17.25, known as the “California Values Act.” In enacting Chapter 17.25, the California Legislature made the following findings regarding the California immigrant population:

(1) Immigrants are valuable and essential members of the California community. Almost one in three Californians is foreign born and one in two children in California has at least one immigrant parent.

(2) A relationship of trust between California’s immigrant community and state and local agencies is central to the public safety of the people of California.

(3) This trust is threatened when state and local agencies are entangled with federal immigration enforcement, with the result that immigrant community members fear approaching police when they are victims of, and witnesses to, crimes, seeking basic health services, or attending school, to the detriment of public safety and the well-being of all Californians.

(4) Entangling state and local agencies with federal immigration enforcement programs diverts already limited resources and blurs the lines of accountability between local, state, and federal governments.

(5) State and local participation in federal immigration enforcement programs also raises constitutional concerns, including the prospect that California residents could be detained in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, targeted on the basis of race or ethnicity in violation of the Equal Protection Clause, or denied access to education based on immigration status.

(6) This chapter seeks to ensure effective policing, to protect the safety, well-being, and constitutional rights of the people of California, and to direct the state’s limited resources to matters of greatest concern to state and local governments.

The legislative findings enumerated in the “California Values Act” follows unprecedented nationwide efforts to provide greater protection to the undocumented immigrant community. [1]

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