California to shield arrested illegal immigrants from the feds
October 7, 2013
Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Saturday that bars California law enforcement officers from turning over arrested illegal immigrants to federal immigration officials. [Mercury News]
AB 4, authored by San Francisco Democrat Tom Ammiano, prohibits placing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) holds on most jail inmates who are otherwise eligible for release.
Brown said the new law “protects public safety and yet also protects immigrants who are basically living upright lives and working hard for the people.”
Also known as the Trust Act, AB 4 does not shield immigrants charged or convicted of serious and violent felonies. Crimes that law enforcement officers can still report to ICE include child abuse, drug trafficking, weapons sales, aggravated federal felonies, gang-related felonies and using children to sell drugs.
Last year, Brown vetoed the bill. But, he decided to support it after the legislature added the exemption for serious and violent felonies.
Opponents of the new law say it still compromises public safety.
“Californians, regardless of their immigration status, are now left unprotected from deportable criminal aliens,” said Kristin Williamson of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “ICE agents will be forced into unnecessarily dangerous situations trying to track down illegal aliens who were safely in the custody of state and local law enforcement.”
Last week, Brown signed a bill into law allowing the California Department of Motor Vehicles to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.