SB 54 provides additional security, peace of mind to law-abiding residents
Senate Bill 54, or the California Values Act, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 5. SB 54 helps protect undocumented immigrants from deportation by restricting how state and local officials cooperate with those in federal immigration. It will provide some modicum of safety to a group of people who are largely nonviolent and law-abiding.
According to the most recent data available, over 2 million undocumented immigrants are estimated to live in California. These people live in constant fear of deportation, yet abide by the law, contribute to the state economy and drive their children to school each day. These people have lives and families.
Local law enforcement will not inquire about immigration status during regular interactions, helping undocumented immigrants feel more comfortable reporting crimes without fear of being ousted as an unauthorized resident of the state. SB 54 does not prevent people from being deported, but rather prevents California from working in conjunction with federal immigration policy.
There are exceptions, of course. Federal agents can still interview people who are detained within the state, although they will need judicial warrants to do so. Local law enforcement can still work with federal authorities to detain people who violate any of a long list of offenses; in short, this bill does not support the bad guys.
The law will provide policy guidelines that limit assistance with federal immigration authorities in areas around public schools, health facilities, courthouses and other locations. One should never feel unsafe in these spaces, and this legislation aids in making that a reality.
The California Values Act does not serve as an ultimate protection from deportation. It does not create a so-called “sanctuary state” — far from it. Federal authorities have massive resources available to them and will still be able to operate with few restrictions in the state of California.
The Editorial Board supports this move, which adds a level of security for those who, save for their lack of official visas or citizenship documents, are law-abiding residents of the state of California.
In the wake of heightened federal immigration policies and threats by the current presidential administration, it is imperative that California fights to protect those who need it most. This is a stepping stone toward an ultimate protection for undocumented immigrants. Hopefully it will set a precedent in showing what we gain when we accept diversity rather than shun it.
Written By: The California Aggie Editorial Board