Immigration

AG Becerra Clarifies Immigration Enforcement Rules Under SB 54

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

On Wednesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued two guidances clarifying what information local law enforcement agencies’ can and can’t share with federal immigration officials under SB 54,the California Values Act. The AG’s move came two days after Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens announced that her department had begun publicly posting inmates’ release dates online, a move meant to defy the so-called “sanctuary state” law.

Becerra’s Information Bulletins also followed the OC Board of Supervisors’ Tuesday decision to sign onto U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ federal lawsuit against the state over three of its immigration-related “sanctuary” laws, including SB 54.

The California Values Act aims to prevent the federal government from using state and local public resources–like law enforcement personnel–to help US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents investigate, arrest, or detain immigrants.

The hope, for many local and state officials, is that SB 54 will help undocumented immigrants feel safe reporting crimes and otherwise engaging with law enforcement without the fear of deportation.

“The guidance we’re issuing today simply gives our public safety authorities a clear sense of what the Values Act – which works in concert not conflict with federal law – requires,” Becerra said. “We’re not going to let the Trump Administration coerce us into doing the federal government’s job of enforcing federal immigration law. We’re in the business of public safety, not deportation.”

The California AG’s second, and longest, guidance bulletin explains that SB 54 doesn’t give California law enforcement agencies leeway to ignore federal law regarding cooperating with federal immigration officials.

SB 54 does, however, ban officers from asking about a person’s immigration status. Police cannot make arrests solely for civil immigration violations or engage in joint task forces with federal agencies if the main goal is immigration enforcement either. The first information bulletin details the data reporting requirements for law enforcement agencies that “participate in a joint law enforcement task force” with the feds.

SB 54 also prohibits police agencies from responding to “detainer requests” by keeping an inmate up to 48 hours past their release date (so that ICE has time to pick them up), and prohibits law enforcement from transferring inmates into federal custody unless they’ve been convicted of one of more than 800 crimes listed in the TRUST Act, or if a federal judge has issued a felony warrant.

SB 54 says that local agencies can only provide the feds with jail release dates and respond to ICE notification requests if the information is already available to the public.

The OC Sheriff cited this portion of SB 54 as the reason why her department will now share inmates’ release dates on the OCSD website in order to “enhance communication” between the OCSD and the feds and to “remove dangerous offenders” from Orange County.

“The legislation specifically prohibited local law enforcement’s communication with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the release of certain undocumented offenders,” the OCSD announcement states. “This provision of the law increases the likelihood of dangerous offenders being released back into the community. The law, however, does not limit information that is available to the public.”

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department also makes release dates public. A number of law enforcement representatives including Los Angeles Sheriff Jim McDonnell and the California Police Chiefs Association, opposed the bill until considerable changes were made last October before its passage. Governor Brown also expressed concerns about SB 54 before the last minute changes, which included boosting police agencies’ ability to respond to federal immigration hold requests, and increasing access for immigration agents seeking to interview people in local jails. After the changes, OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens remained opposed to the bill.

Orange County’s supervisors, too, have taken steps to fight the state law, voting 4-0 in a closed-session meeting on Tuesday to join the U.S. Department of Justice in a lawsuit against California.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and immigration officials have loudly decried California’s law and the local law enforcement agencies that decline detainer requests, as well as the portion of California’s recent California Values Act (SB 54) that bans police from responding to ICE’s requests to hold inmates beyond their release dates. The DOJ’s lawsuit against California, however, does not challenge that portion of SB 54, which may show that the DOJ is “conceding on ICE detainers,” according to Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus’s Angela Chan, who helped draft SB 54, reports Reveal News.

The U.S. DOJ (and soon-to-be OC) suit challenges portions of three state laws—SB 54, AB 450, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, and AB 103, which gave state officials a system for inspecting immigration facilities within the state.

“This kind of obsessive immigrant bashing is embarrassing to the county and its residents, and seems designed to court the approval of a racist President and his cronies,” Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said in response to the OC Supervisors’ vote. “‘Blue’ and ‘progressive’ we may be, but these repeated efforts to portray hardworking immigrants as criminals are a repulsive, black stain on California’s history.”

Attorney General Xavier Becerra, in an op-ed for the Washington Post, said that Sessions’s lawsuit against the state’s three laws was filed “under the pretense that these laws interfere with federal immigration authorities and harm public safety. This action reflects a misunderstanding of the U.S. Constitution, our state laws and the American ethos on a fundamental level.”

The state does not “provide “sanctuary” for criminals,” Becerra continued. “We aggressively go after criminals, regardless of their immigration status. And we work regularly in tandem with our federal partners to assist in, for example, combating gangs, human trafficking and the peddling of drugs.”

California police do not, however, act as immigration agents, Becerra added. “We’re in the business of public safety, not deportation.”

36 Comments

  • It should be remembered that, like the recently enacted gas tax, SB 54 was passed without a vote of the people. Had the people voted on the matter this would’ve been the likely outcome:

    news.berkeley.edu/2015/09/04/igs-poll-californians-oppose-sanctuary-city-flexibility

    This poll, from an academic department at UC-Berkeley and published by Public Affairs-UC-Berkeley, was published on September 4, 2015, just before the passage of SB 54.

    • Sorry, the link didn’t go through, but it can be Googled. The UC-Berkeley poll found that–get this–74% of respondents polled oppose sanctuary status.

      Hence, no vote of the people on the matter.

  • Here’s a question for Celeste. I’m sure you were just fine with this law same as you have been with AB109 and Props, 57 and 47, anything to help the poor misunderstood criminal population you go to bat for.

    Now tell us how you feel about the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights.

  • I found it typical and hypocritical when Attorney General Becerra threatened the OC sheriff with arrest if she did not comply with state law? The states attorney general threatened another law enforcement officer and county for complying with the law as written. How odd…from the same person who asserts his “states rights” to ignore Federal law and vigorously impede and support the defiance of Federal law? What gall?

    If he does try to go after the OC sheriff and the county, he better be ready for a fight.

  • Maybe Mr. Becerra, as the highest law enforcement official in the stste, should read the oath that all law enforcement officers take and swear to uphold when they graduate from the academy.

    SB 54 basically makes the oath “null and void” by forcing law enforcement officers to ignore the US Constitution as the highest law of the land.

  • I assist the FBI by letting them know if a bank was robbed and if I have a suspect in custody.

    I will also assist ICE if I have a person from another country who is here illegally.

    I took an oath and will live up to it until I retire. No communist or Far Left idiot will tell me to violate that oath, no matter what position he holds.

    • Three different courts have already ruled on ICE detainers, and they have been deemed to be unconstitutional. Notice how Session’s lawsuit didn’t push that issue. So please honor an ICE detainer, but understand the consequences of violating the 4th Amendment. Yes, that’s part of that constitution cited in your oath.

      • Three different courts you say but ICE still can apply for and issue immigration detainers if they have reasonable cause to believe someone is in the country illegally. The decision by open borders activist and judges to try and legislate via the court does not negate the fact that law enforcement is not based on selective enforcement of this of law or that one, but rather cooperation between agencies.

        Local police don’t enforce fish and game laws, interstate kidnapping, investigate the production of counterfeit money or bank robberies either, but do assist state and federal agencies rather than deliberately impede and ignore criminals who violate these laws.

        Unlike you, I believe in the fair application of the law, rather than making allowances and treating one group better than another….a group who started out by disrespecting this countries laws and immigration process.

        I obey the law…why shouldn’t everyone else be expected to do the same?

        • You still don’t get it. ICE detainers are null and void. Please familiarize yourself with the 4th Amendment, it’s the law after all. Nothing prevents ICE from getting a warrant, BASED ON PROBABLE CAUSE. The judges who made the ruling were actually following constitutional law, and it has nothing to do with activism.

          By the way, I have yet to meet an “open border” activist. Sounds more like a pejorative straw man argument, bereft of actual facts. I think most people disagree on how to secure the border, not that we should have one to begin with.

  • Cognistator, so what is your point? Its a representative government, and we elect our representatives to pass laws. That is the system. If we didn’t have an electoral college, Hillary would be president as more people voted for her, but it is what it is. And, that is not counting the millions of illegals that voted for her, according to our Orange commander in chief. I do not hear you claiming that Trump should not be president.

    Sure Fire, I do not know what Celeste thinks, but most people think the POBOR is nonsense. You are an employee, and there are numerous state laws that protect you as an employee. You should not have more rights than anyone else. I do not see you asking for the Walmart Employee’s Bill of Rights, or that of the Burger King Employee bill of rights. And, again, you guys with the government whine about the government, but you hide behind it and feed at its trough. You can lie on the witness stand, and not get fired, let alone prosecuted, and you are so protected by one of the strongest unions around that its like pulling teeth just to find out which among you are the liars. So, stop playing the victim.

    Conspiracy, its not odd at all. The court’s will decide who is right. The Federal government does not trump state law merely because its the Federal government. You don’t like the law, you call it unconstitutional. I think you are still reading a copy of the constitution from prior to the civil war. For god’s sake, you still bitch about reading Miranda Rights, and that was settled years ago. I suspect 50 years ago you would have been one of the officers letting go of the German Shepards on the black protestors.

    Ownership, you took an oath, but do remember you are an employee. You are not qualified to determine whether this or that is constitutional. From reading your posts, I think its above your pay grade and comprehension level. The kid at Burger Kid can’t decide that he will put pickles in some burgers but not others. Hell, if it were up to you the BLM would not be allowed to protest because you do not like blacks. You probably want to see them back on the plantation, in the back of the bus, or merely for them to “know their place.” You were probably one of the fine officers hiding from Dorner, but to a 5’1″ non-english speaking street vendor you’re a tough guy. Please.

    • CF…I guess you think the Federal Government is necessary and relevant when it comes to civil rights protections, ADA, voters rights, woman’s rifts, environmental protection, etc., when in comes to ensure no equal protection throughout the United States of America…..but when in comes to an issue you and others feel is unjust the supremacy of Federal oversight goes out the window? Hypocrite.

      I wish your line of thinking was in play when the whole Tameka, Bacca, LASD was unfolding. How dare those overreaching Federal Government meddles poke their nose in the states business. I guess the DOJ and FBI didn’t have the authority to intervene by your line of reasoning.

      Selective interpretation of what laws…rules YOU and others like you, think are worthy of being adhered to and enforced I guess.

  • CF:

    My point should have been clear: SB 54 was passed when a UC poll found 74% of the electorate opposed it.

    Clearly, that is NOT representative government.

    But….

    It’ll all come out in the wash.

    • The Orange County Sheriff announced yesterday that 172 inmates were released from custody without being held by ICE, in spite of the fact they had requested detainers. What wasn’t discussed with the same degree of enthusiasm, however, was the fact that 168 inmates were transferred to the custody of ICE pursuant to the California Values Act. Contrary to popular belief, the term sanctuary state does not include violent felons.

    • Ownership…..You, along with others on the Extreme Right, still have the Slave Master mentality when it comes to others who don’t look and think like you.
      Your fear of an uprising is ever so present in your rants and misinformation.

  • So Reg you claiming to be Celeste in Blackface? You are a pathetic racist little man. Cops had to have the POBR, you know that, only way they could do their jobs without fear of retaliation from political bosses.
    Now will you let Celeste tell us how she feels about it? Can you let her speak?

  • When you think of this law who does it really impact? It impacts those undocumented immigrants that work and obey the law. The ones that are sitting home when ICE goes in looking for the undocumented crook that was released from the county jail. Then they get picked up at that point. So you tell me how following this brainstorm of an law helps them. It only puts more people in jeopardy of getting deported. Similar to the idea of Santa Ana deciding not to hold undocumented criminals in their jail. Now local residents cannot visit their relatives locally. They have to go to San Diego, and how much money did they lose? Maybe people need to think before they act. Scare tactics from politicians don’t always work. You will see the amount of non-criminal undocumented immigrants go up quickly. Thanks to fools like Becerra and Brown and De Leon. They will never say they made a mistake implementing this Law. Sad

  • Conspiracy, the world is not black and white. Please stop being silly. There is a role for the federal government, and those are some of the examples where it can play a role. In those circumstances, for example civil rights, if we left it to Alabamy and Kentucky, and the rest of the backwards areas, blacks would still be in chains. You would have a tyranny of the majority. Just because the majority wants something does not make it right, especially when that something is at the expense of a minority group, such as blacks in the south, Japanese during WWII, the Chinese in the 18th century. Some of the needed change came though legislation and some through the courts, but had we left it to the South, god save us. And, as you know, there are federal laws, which the Baca and the rest of crooked LOE broke. The Fed has a right to enforce those laws. Same with immigration. The Feds want to catch an undocumented person, that is their right. However, what people dispute, as in CA, is that the Fed can make you complicit in their work. If I walk into the post office and see a picture of the FBI’s most wanted and I see that person, I can, but have no obligation, to call the police.

    Cognistator, you still do not get it. No that is not representative democracy. What you are talking about is direct democracy, one person one vote. Representative democracy would be you electing a representative, like your governor, assembly person, etc, and they making the laws. We do so in California, and they pass the laws. You want to change it, you can. You, in California, can put a proposition on the ballot. There is a process for that. Don’t be lazy and just complain. If you feel strongly about it, do something.

    Sure fire, I still do not get your point. My point is that you are an employee, that’s it. In California we have at-will employment for most employees. Just about everyone who does not have a union or a contract can get fired, legally, for making a mistake. In fact, they can get fired for no reason at all. We should be able to fire police officers for making mistakes, especially when those mistakes result in someone injured or dead, such as being shot 7 times, was it, in the back. How the F#%& are you a LOE and you are such a bad shot that shoot people in the back, or confuse a phone for a gun. The kid at McDonald’s can get fired for confusing a cheeseburger for a Big Mac, you should be fired for confusing a phone for a gun.

    Really, really? That is Trumpian logic. The same logic that that led the slave master to say the slave was better off on the plantation because if he were free he wasn’t guaranteed a meal or a roof. And, where do you get they are going to San Diego to meet because they are afraid in Santa Ana? You must also be a gang expert.

    • Your reasoning is so ass backwards with regards to the duty of the states with respect to honoring and respecting Federal jurisdiction is laughable. Do your basically saying the states have no responsibility to help the Federal government enforce any Federal law, mandate, rule, code or regulation they don’t agree with and don’t have a responsibility to lift a finger with respect to enforcing said rules, laws, etc. Again what a hypocrite and low down, scumbag. I guess if someone kills an FBI agent or assaults a mail person, local law enforcement should turn a blind eye since the are Federal employees? Why doesn’t California just opt out of the Federal income tax program and stand on its own two feet and stop sucking off the Federal tit if it feels it has no responsibility to the Federal government. Oh..that’s fight, the state leaders and people like you only want the Federal government around intervening when they say so.

      You contradict yourself so much to try and support your argument no matter how glared it makes me sick. On the one hand you mention putting it on the ballot, democracy and the tiny to vote but then say just because the majority want it doesn’t make it right. That’s exactly what set the civil rights movement in motion and why the Federal government had to intervene. A loud vocal racist minority, believed they were right, and their way of doing things was right relative to the rest of the country and Federal law. Do you see the similarity or ate you too one sided in your thinking you’ll force the spare pen in the round hole no matter what?

      Hell…with your line of reasoning slavery and the civil war were were a good things since several states wanted to assert their “states rights” to go their way no matter how flawed.

      Ballot initiate…why..that was tried with Pop 8 and overturned by the court. The CA state legislature has taken ruling by mandate, passing laws without putting them on the ballot, having the governor and using the courts to legislate by rubber stamp.

      Enough for the grandiose bizarro “history lessons”. Just keep on patting yourself in the back…no one else will.

      Sad for you that there are other people in the room who read, think and have respect and love for the United States of America. You and your progressive, fringe coast brethren keep going down this path and see who wins the next presidential election.

  • I am very familiar with ICE and my family is from mexico. So please save me the TRUMP thing. I know for a fact whats going on not like you. Ground level stuff…..They can’t visit because they are no longer housed in the santa ana jail.

  • cf / reg you really ought to just stick with the awkward insults. Your attempts to play junior college history teacher are as half assed as the pretense that you’re anything but a middle aged white guy with hurt feelings.

  • I’ve said before I’ve had officers fired so STFU with the they can’t be fired stupidity. You, like Celeste want less due process for officers than the common criminal just admit it. Celeste needs to step up and answer a simple question, what’s the big deal? As for telling a cell phone from a gun. When you’re chasing a guy in the dark, yard to yard, over fences, and he’s running because he’s done nothing of course why in God’s name would he come up with a dark object like a phone in his hand at that time and risk getting shot? But the cop who did it only did it in that hectic final last moment because he was Black. Sit down Reg.

  • CF- LATBG-Still Laughing.

    Just curious. I’m sure you don’t have the guts to answer this, but I’ll try anyways.

    What percentage of cops in America are bigoted racists? Just a “ballpark” number. Doesn’t have to be fact or even accurate. Just the % YOU feel are racist. 5%, 10%, 100%… Just give me YOUR number.

  • Really, OK, you are Mexican. And? Clarence Thomas is black, so he cares about blacks?

    Maj. Kong, actually, I was trying to play high school history teacher, but I guess the material was a bit more challenging than I intended it to be. My apologies. And, do tell what this Reg guy did to you? Did he do something to you in the locker room when no one was looking? Did he get your promotion? Did he not back up your story when you smacked some black kid for getting smart with you? The last one is probably not hard to do. Please share.

    Sure fire, please, you miss the point. You are an employee. When did you last worry about the due process of a Walmart employee? And I know it can get “hectic” That is my point, maybe you should not be running after someone on whom you aint got shit. And, because he was running, he must have done something? Maybe he’s kosher and wants nothing to do with police officers. You thought it was a gun, someone is dead, you fucked up, you are fired. How about that? Criminal prosecution is another question and we can get to that. And, Celeste or anyone else wants less due process for cops than for common criminals? Are you crazy? Jesus, you have a persecution complex. How about the same due process? Nothing less, but nothing more.

    Ownership, first off, I have no idea. I can tell you from my personal experience, if you want to hear it. But, even besides being racist, I am concerned that they are very biased. I just want them to do their job. Do not stop someone if you have nothing on them. Do not stop the car because the brother looks “suspicious” or “nervous.” Why did you kill Ezel Ford? Your brethren were doing an “investigative stop.” WTF does that mean? Do not stop anyone because they look “suspicious” because you tend to find black and brown more suspicious and because they end up dead like Ezel or Stephon.

  • CF- Stephon is dead because he was a criminal thug POS who was committing more crimes, ran from the police when caught and then tried calling mommy with his cell phone in the dark.

    Not because of the color of his skin. Reap it.

  • There you go cf/reg, “back in your lane” where you belong, leave the ideas to other people, awkward rants and lame racial/sexual humor are your bag.

  • Ownership, I hope it’s a really, really, small number. The orange dude in the White House has a unique way of bringing out the bigoted racists in some, so they bask in daylight in all their glory, unaccustomed to the public eye. They latch on to a tweet here, a rant there, connect it to some buzzwords and voila, you have a racist bigot who claims that anyone who doesn’t believe like they do must be unpatriotic, a coward, or some other lowly life form.

    Take the five undocumented that Brown pardoned the other day. Trump went on a Twitter tirade denouncing them as drug dealers, robbers, etc., when reality is far more complex than that. They were all convicted once, served their sentence decades ago, resumed their lives, raising a family of AMERICAN children and contributed to society in a positive way. For the cartoon crowd, easily led by the nose, they are unworthy of consideration. The bigger picture is whether or not the children of these five deserve to lose their parent to deportation.

    Life isn’t easy, and painting everything in black and white only is both immoral and dishonest.

    • Exactly what I meant by “rants and misinformation” coming from the Oval Office and repeated by those who have no clue.

  • LATBG: I respect absolutely everything you just posted.

    After reading it twice, I asked myself why you’re so quick to jump all over Surefire, Maj Kong and me, but I don’t remember such an eloquent post directed at CF.

    Honestly, our posts can be insensitive at times, but CF’s are exactly what’s plaguing our country.

    Again, why not call him out? Why just the conservatives?

    I’ve called Maj Kong out before and he hasn’t agreed with everything I say either.

  • Ownership, you are right. Some of the stuff CF writes about are out of line, over the top, and not constructive in any way. Other times there is a vein of truth in what CF says. I read a sampling of his/her material a while back, and probably don’t pay enough attention to everything, my bad. I think we should spend our time arguing the merits of our case and not getting into pissing matches with each other.

    • Your last paragraph sums up how valid
      discussions & disagreements should be handled. It definitely addresses a select few on this blog.

      Anyone throwing rocks should expect having them thrown back.

  • Celeste, this is your site and you leave a question, a relatively simple one unanswered. Now you know I’m already aware you want the POBR changed, so why not explain in what way? Why are you afraid of a debate on this issue? Unlike the dimwit CF/Reg who compares cops to Walmart employees I would think your reasoning would be a bit different.

  • Why no coverage of the pushback from numerous cities and San Diego County regarding SB 54? The governor recently embarresed himself and the state in his efforts to defend the bill and “evade, deflect and blame” Fox News when questioned about the views of the people and lack of concern for the protection of the victims of crimes perpetrated by people in the country illegally.

    He was Pathetic…

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