State lawmakers are considering a slate of bills to defend undocumented immigrants facing the threat of deportation.
The legislative effort comes as the federal government tightens its immigration enforcement under President Donald Trump, which state Senate Leader Kevin de León called "an inhumane and over-reaching mass-deportation policy."
Since taking office, President Trump has signed two executive orders directly dealing with immigration into the United States -- one begins the construction of his Mexico-border wall and another seeks to cut federal funding from so-called "sanctuary cities."
"We will not stand by and let the federal government use our state and local agencies to separate mothers from their children," Sen. de León said in a statement last month.
The senate leader's bill, SB 54, would prohibit state and local law enforcement officials from acting as immigration enforcement. But those agencies will still be able to comply with a judge's warrant to transfer violent offenders into federal custody for immigration enforcement reasons.
Sen. de León's measure would also prohibit Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials from public schools, hospitals and courthouse premises.
Two bills moving through the statehouse could improve the legal standing of people facing deportation. Unlike American citizens, undocumented immigrants facing criminal charges do not have the right to an attorney.
San Diego Democratic Sen. Ben Hueso wants California to fund legal representation for undocumented immigrants with his bill, SB 6, and Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D - Oakland) has authored legislation -- AB 3 -- that would train defense attorneys and public defender's offices on immigration law.
OTHER IMMIGRATION BILLS
Cities and counties could be prohibited from contracting with private companies in order to detain undocumented immigrants for profit, under Los Angeles Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara's SB29.
Sen. Lara is also pushing a bill, SB 30, that would require voter-approval of a border wall construction in California before the project breaks ground. Lara says such a project would harm California's wildlife, watersheds, trade economy and tourism.
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