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ICE Director: Arrests Coming To California Neighborhoods, Workplaces

08 October 2017

Amid ongoing immigration reform by the Trump administration (including the phase-out of DACA and new travel restrictions for foreigners) California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill Thursday to make the Golden State the first ever sanctuary state in the union. It also bars authorities from asking about immigration status. Jerry Brown signed SB54 into law, canceling nearly all cooperation state and local authorities can give to federal deportation officers.

"This bill does not prevent or prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Homeland Security from doing their own work in any way", Brown said in a rare signing message.

In the weeks after the November 2016 presidential election, California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon introduced Senate Bill 54 as a direct response to President Donald Trump's campaign policies on immigration. The state has almost 2.3 million immigrants without legal documents, according to Pew Research Center.

Although the Trump administration's chief goal is to deport criminals, it is still expelling significant numbers of people who never committed any crimes.

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It also prohibits new or expanded contracts with federal agencies to use California law enforcement facilities as detention centers, although it does not force the termination of existing contracts - including Orange County's $22 million annual contract with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Homan adds that his agents will now be forced to conduct "at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests".

Instead, the officers must try to arrest them at their homes or jobs out in the community - where their family or other illegal immigrants around them could also be arrested.

A number of cities in California, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, have already banned police officers from collaborating with ICE on operations to capture undocumented immigrants.

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Last month, federal agents arrested almost 500 immigrants in sanctuary cities and towns, including Baltimore and the District of Columbia, and vowed to return "every week" if they refuse to cooperate.

"California's local law enforcement can not be commandeered by the Trump administration and used to tear families apart, undermine our public safety and wreck our economy", De Leon said. "But it will put a kink - a large kink - in Trump's perverse and inhumane deportation machine", De León said after Brown signed the historic bill.

Republicans in Washington have called for a pushback against sanctuary cities and states, with a bill clearing the GOP-controlled House earlier this year.

The local Sacramento Bee newspaper reported that Brown had made some amendments before signing the bill, such as increasing crimes on the list from the initial 65 to over 800, including felony DUI (Driving Under the Influence), child abuse, gang-related offenses and some misdemeanors.

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Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said Trump seeks to cause distrust for political gain.

ICE Director: Arrests Coming To California Neighborhoods, Workplaces