California's new sanctuary law may be meant to shield undocumented immigrants from being picked up by federal agents, but some say it's going to have more far-reaching, unintended consequences. State and local law enforcement officers will no longer be able to ask anyone about their immigration status. Those in custody will still have their fingerprints entered into a database that will alert federal authorities, but local and state law enforcement officers will be prohibited from confirming that person's status to ICE.
Senate Bill 54 limits local and state law enforcement's ability to let ICE know when that person is eligible for release. Depending on that inmate's status, they may not be able to transfer that inmate from the local jail to ICE. That means ICE agents will come to the community to look for that person. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea says that means California can expect to see more ICE agents on the ground, showing up in the community, knocking on doors and looking for people who were arrested for allegedly committing crimes. Once there, they will start asking friends, family, and associates about their status, and that could lead to more deportations of people who are undocumented, but have not been arrested in a crime.
Chico immigration advocate Sergio Garcia says, "by saying California is a sanctuary state, you're pretty much calling the attention to the federal government to come over here and deal with us, because obviously they don't appreciate that, so in effect you're drawing negative attention to the immigrant community by doing that."
Both Honea and Garcia agree that California's move to become a sanctuary state is a battle of political will between President Trump and Governor Jerry Brown.
The new law went into effect January 1st.
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