California lawmakers approve ‘sanctuary state’ bill, ‘kicking the president right in the groin’

California lawmakers thumbed their noses at President Trump and moved ahead with approving a statewide sanctuary bill, or as one Republican senator boldly put it, they “kicked the president right in the groin.”

Senate Bill 54, passed Monday in a 27-12 vote, bars law enforcement in the state from helping enforce immigration policies according to ABC News.

Defying Trump’s immigration policies, the bill limits state and local police in their abilities to cooperate with federal immigration authorities as they will be barred from using their facilities, equipment, funds or personnel in enforcing the law.

Los Angeles Democrat and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon amended the bill to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement federal agents to be notified by law enforcement before releasing convicted serious or violent felons from custody, according to ABC.

“We will cooperate with our friends at the federal level with serious and violent felons. But we won’t cooperate or lift a finger or spend a single cent when we’re talking about separating children from their mothers, mothers from their children,” de Leon said. “That’s not who we are as a great state.”

The bill, which heads to the California State Assembly, also limits law enforcement by rendering officials unable to help investigate immigration violations, bars asking about immigration status and detaining people solely for immigration violations without a warrant issued by a judge.

In a statement, De Leon praised the bill and its passage in the Senate Monday as “a rejection of President Trump’s false and cynical portrayal of undocumented residents as a lawless community.”

“Our precious local law enforcement resources will be squandered if police are pulled from their duties to arrest otherwise law-abiding maids, busboys, labors, mothers and fathers. Trust will be lost. Crimes will go unreported for fear of deportation. Criminals will remain free to victimize others,” he said in a statement.

Some Democrats went ahead with their support for the bill despite concerns that state and local officials would not be able to turn over felons convicted of certain sexual or violent crimes.  If it passes the state Assembly, which has a Democratic majority, the bill will head to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown to be signed.

Opponents and critics of the bill warn that shielding criminals from being deported endangers the public.

“If we don’t control our borders, we cease to be a nation,” Republican Sen. Ted Gaines said. “We cannot become a beacon of lawlessness.”

Others also saw it as a move to challenge and defy the president and his order threatening to withdraw federal funds from jurisdictions that act as sanctuaries for illegal immigrants.

“By passing this today you’ll be kicking the president right in the groin, and I can imagine he’s going to strike back,” Republican Sen. Jeff Stone said.

It seems the state was not through with defying President Trump or continuing its push to create a sanctuary state however. On Monday, the Senate also approved a bill that would provide $12 million in legal defense funds for immigrants not convicted of a violent felony who are facing deportation.

Senate Bill 31 was also approved prohibiting state officials from disclosing a person’s religious beliefs to the federal government in creating a database. The bill, approved 36-0, did not specifically refer to a Muslim registry.

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Frieda Powers

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