California passes ‘sanctuary state’ bill

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San Francisco, Sep 17 (IANS) California lawmakers passed a “sanctuary state” bill to protect immigrants without legal residency in the US, part of a broader push by Democrats to counter the government’s expanded deportation orders.

The Senate Bill 54 introduced by Los Angeles Senator Kevin de Leon would limit state and local law enforcement communication with federal immigration authorities, and prevent officers from questioning and holding people on immigration violations, reports the Los Angeles Times.

After debate in both houses of the Legislature, the bill was approved on Saturday with a 27-11 vote along party lines.

The decision came hours after a federal judge in Chicago blocked President Donald Trump’s administration’s move to withhold the Justice Department from granting funds to discourage so-called sanctuary city policies.

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The Department had pledged to slash government grants for law enforcement from any so-called sanctuary cities, which limit the collaboration between local and federal authorities on immigration enforcement.

On the Senate floor, De Leon said on Saturday: “These amendments do not mean to erode the core mission of this measure, which is to protect hardworking families that have contributed greatly to our culture and the economy.

“This is a measure that reflects the values of who we are as a great state.”

Trump signed an executive order on January 25 seeking to withhold federal funding for “sanctuary states”.

The nine governments on the blacklist are Chicago, California, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Nevada’s Clark county, Illinois’ Cook county, Florida’s Miami-Dade county and Wisconsin’s Milwaukee county.

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