Immigration Raids And Trump Era Policies Prompt Extreme Protections: California Values Act SB54

On Monday, Senate Bill 54, also known as the California Values Act of 2017, passed in the Senate 27-12. It will now move to the Assembly for passage.

This bill would, among other things and subject to exceptions, prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes, as specified.”

Desperate times call for desperate measures. In California, a desperate measure is manifesting itself as a Senate Bill. Senate Bill 54 (SB54) to be exact, and you need to know about it. This bill is meant to resist the inhumane raids happening in the Latino community under the Trump administration. ICE has been aggressively pursuing known immigrants and detaining them for deportation with and without signed warrants.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leόn wants California to push back against the mass deportation raids and has introduced legislation to ensure that California leads the way in protecting its residents. Senator de Leόn recently has been very visible on Twitter and other social media outlets in condemning the actions of the Trump administration especially as it pertains to Californians.

Here is one of his current tweets:  Kevin de Leόn ‏Verified account @kdeleon

Cities and counties with sanctuary policies are safer than those without. #SacStands4All

Dubbed the California Values Act 2017, let me explain why we need this bill. All over the country, people are fretting over the so-called “mass deportation plan” devised by the new President and his staff.  We have been hearing of deportation incidents all over the Nation. The ACLU has been working tirelessly in an effort to help those that may have had their rights violated, and the organization is strongly urging passage of this bill.  Here are just a few examples of what is happening around the country in respect to this new policy and states gearing up for resistance:

Phoenix Elementary School District Bans ICE Officers From Campuses Phoenix (AZ) 

After An Immigration Raid, A City’s Students Vanish  – Las Cruces (NM)  

De Blasio: We Are Preparing NYC Schools to Resist ICE Agents – (NY

Chicago School Principals Told Not to Let ICE Agents In – NBC News – (Il)                     In

Kansas City, ICE Will Need A Signed Warrant To Enter Their Schools – (KS)

The list goes on and on. We are seeing several areas around the country come out in defiance against this policy. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, several states and cities are already classified or identified themselves as a “sanctuary city/state.

There seems to be strong support for the bill, as mentioned, the ACLU is on board and recently, Civil Rights icon, Dolores Huerta has been promoting SB54 across the state and has confirmed that she and her foundation strongly support it. Most recently she was seen at USC promoting its passage and encouraging her audience to support the proposition and show compassion to undocumented immigrants.

Some say that California has come a long way in tolerance. Has it? Judging by the vitriolic statements made online on various outlets as commentary and blogs, I would say, we have a loooong way to go still.  Even in California. Just check out the comment section of the link to the LA Times article on tolerance.  

This bill comes just in time for some who hope to feel a little safer.  This story about ICE ramping up in sanctuary cities appeared all over the internet and continues to increase fears about deportation among many in the Latino community. Fear so great that many crimes are going unreported for fear of contacting the police department. Passage of SB54 may help quell some of those fears.  

But not so fast, some Mayors in Southern California are coming together to protest the California Values Act of 2017 calling it unsafe. These mayors, mostly from the San Diego area (Poway, El Cajón, Coronado, Escondido, La Mesa, San Marcos, Santee and Vista) say it would put residents at a risk of danger. They are saying things such as this: “Fundamentally, SB54 would sever the lines of communication between local law enforcement and state and federal agencies. Agencies that are charged with keeping us safe and making sure people follow the law. That’s bad news.” I highlighted the key point in that quote because it isn’t the truth. SB54 does not sever lines of communication, it simply states that local law enforcement will not go out of their way to track and arrest the undocumented. That spin on the language is important because it is intended to scare citizens and appeal to their worst nature. These are mayors who are lying. Or maybe they just didn’t read the text of the bill, or maybe they want to pander to their anti-immigrant supporters. In my view, mayors and other local elected officials have the duty to protect their communities and that includes those that live within them even if undocumented.   

The greatest opposition to SB54 comes from the California Sheriffs who say that the bill will prevent them from arresting violent offenders.  

“If SB 54 passes, it will allow dangerous, violent career criminals to slip through the cracks and be released back into our communities,” Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones told reporters.

All the more reason to get this bill passed. We support the efforts of our legislators and SB54 because we know that education is greatly affected by the growing fright of being apprehended at our local schools.

For the record, the California Department of Education has consistently affirmed the position that all schools in California are safe havens, has condemned the apprehension of parents near schools, and has encouraged school districts across the state to pass safe haven/zone resolutions. When a parent was apprehended by ICE in Highland Park recently, the CDE asked for clarification from the government regarding ICE activities near schools. Several school districts have also passed a resolution in support of keeping school zones safe, but not everyone has take a position to support the bill.  

California Teacher’s Association (CTA) and California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) have remained silent, but other organizations have expressed support for sanctuary status. The California School Boards Association (CSBA) have penned a boilerplate resolution template for districts to customize and use and has been used all over the state.

We will continue to watch this bill and keep our readers informed on the outcomes and effect of this bill in our communities.  

What do you think?

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Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia is a Mother, Grandmother, former Middle School Teacher, former Member of a School Board of Education and an Education Advocate for hundreds of parents and students in the Inland Empire. Having become a mother at 15, Leticia knows what it’s like to be a single mother trying to navigate the education system. Leticia received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from California Baptist University and a Masters’ Degree in Education Technology from Cal State Fullerton in her 30’s. Leticia has used her knowledge and experience to help hundreds of families as an Education Advocate in the Inland Empire and currently works as an Education Specialist.

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