Bill Watch Edmund G. Brown, Jr. (Jerry) Immigration & Justice

Governor Brown and Legislators Nail Down SB 54 Amendments at the Last Minute

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

On Monday, a day before the end of this year’s legislative session, California Governor Jerry Brown and bill author Senate pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) came to an agreement on amendments to SB 54, the California Values Act—also called the “sanctuary state” bill.

SB 54 aims to prevent the federal government from using state and local public resources—like law enforcement personnel—to help Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents investigate, arrest, or detain immigrants.

The bill would not stop law enforcement officers from complying with warrants to transfer immigrants who have committed violent crimes into federal custody.

In addition, SB 54 would designate schools, hospitals, and courthouses as “safe zones,” banning immigration enforcement on premises.

During the first half of the year, the bill underwent a number of amendments, some of which were put in place to address concerns from police that the bill would prevent officers from participating in federal task forces. Thanks to those amendments, SB 54 garnered the support of law enforcement officials, including Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, Sacramento Police Captain James Beezley, and Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart.

But Governor Brown still had concerns about the bill before yesterday’s changes. On NBC’s Meet the Press, Brown said he supported the need “to block, not collaborate with, the abuse of federal power,” but said “some changes” needed to be made to the bill before he would support (and therefore sign) the bill.

The latest amendment increases police agencies’ ability to respond to federal immigration “hold” requests.

Originally, the bill only allowed police to hold people for ICE who were previously convicted of or currently incarcerated for violent or serious felony offenses.

The new version of SB 54 allows local law enforcement to decide to hold a person already in custody for ICE if the individual has been convicted of one of a long list of felony offenses, or a misdemeanor “wobbler” that could have also qualified as a felony offense. In California, wobblers include spousal battery, DUIs, certain sex crimes, and often fraud offenses.

The changes will also allow immigration agents to interview people in local jails–a practice that was banned in the previous version of the bill.

The bill still bars local officers from asking people about their immigration status, detaining a person solely based on a hold request, or making or participating in arrests based on civil immigration warrants.

The original bill’s provision blocking local law enforcement from sharing access to–or immigration information from–police databases with immigration agents was also dropped.

Under SB 54, law enforcement agencies would also not be able to contract with the feds with the purpose of housing individuals as immigration detainees in local jails.

Additionally, the bill was amended to increase the frequency of which local agencies reported data to the California Department of Justice. The bill will require local law enforcement agencies to send annual reports to the CA Justice Department regarding each agency’s transfer of people to immigration authorities. Agencies will also be required to report on the nature of the federal-local joint task forces in which they participated.

According to de León, SB 54 will still “provide landmark protections for our undocumented community and prevents our state and local law enforcement resources from being diverted to tear families apart” in the name of “the Trump administration’s radical and hateful immigration policy agenda.”

The bill will also make sure that “state and local police are not diverted from protecting our communities in order to enforce federal immigration laws,” de León said. “The protections provided by SB 54 will also ensure undocumented residents can report crimes and assist in prosecutions without fear of deportation.”

Governor Brown, now satisfied with the terms of the bill, agreed.

“This bill protects public safety and people who come to California to work hard and make this state a better place,” the governor said.


  • What an amazing and unbelievable time we live in when a state has the nerve to so boldly violate Federal law, openly violate and encourage the violation of Federal law and try to circumvent these laws by creating it’s own laws and rely on enforcement of these laws to be enforced its own biased local Judiciary. It reminds me of how Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and other southern states justified and enforced segregation against the wishes of the Federal Government. Eventually the President had to send in Federal law enforcement to law down the real law and remind state leaders who was really in charge. Does California really think secession is a viable option and that it can really stand alone against the Union of States? A shame that the states leaders are allowing immigrant issues to wipe out historical context and the fundamental differences between the USA and many of the pathetically ran third world countries these immigrants hail from.

  • Maybe we’ll see a “pandoras box II” Jerry Brown and company hauled before Percy Anderson for violating federal law.

  • I wouldn’t get too excited. This legislation merely formalizes what department policy and case law already states. The genesis can be traced back to “gasp” none other than Darryl Gates and Special Order #40. My guess is the republic will survive and crooks will still be deported…

  • Hmm..Special Order #40. An order originated under the Parker regime was practiced on a local level if I’m not mistaken.

    Segregation, un-equal protection under the law and a biased rubber stamp political/judiciary system were the norm in many of the pre-civil rights era states. This was the practice on a local level all the way up to the statehouse. Fast forward to California today…unequal application of the law as it relates to those who immigrated ito the country legally. There are real similarities, not anectdotal ones by any means. Governor Wallace and Governor Brown clearly share a common political mindset as it relates to states rights and the power of the Federal government.

  • Oops…I meant….”unequal application of the law as it relates to those who immigrated into the country illegally.”

  • I strongly believe in States Rights…If California wants to continue to flush itself down the toilet then so be it. The people have Rights too, the right to vote and the right to move to a state that better reflects their ideals….

    I still have a problem with Senator Leon ( he added the De to appeal to Hispanic voters in his district) trying to codify the sanctuary state ideals but I support his right to do so.

    I blame much of this on the way the electoral makeup of California is divided. The high urban centers control the state making the urban and rural areas near impotent. That needs to change. I know there is a lawsuit in the northern part of the state that is suing to have 2 representatives from each county on the federal level as opposed to the current system of population counting. This lawsuit is opposed by Democrats because it would weaken their voice. Guaranteed if Hispanics started voting Republican or even Libertarian in large amounts Democrats would welcome it.

    On the state level it needs to eliminate the gerrymandering of districts and make EVERY district a battle for representation. then stupid ideas on both sides would go away and have state that is more center driven which is where the majority of the people are.

  • Conspiracy is so right once again. Jerry Brown and George Wallace have so much in common. They both wanted segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever. And, they were liberal in their use of the word Nigger. Bitch as much as you want, gentlemen, but California isn’t going white and the South will not rise again. To think that these people use to mow your lawn in years gone by and now they run your state.

  • “Crooks will still be deported.”

    Ay, there’s the rub: simply being in the country illegally is legal ground for deportation.

    Under Obama deportation didn’t occur unless the deportee was convicted (conviction means a full blown jury trial) of

    1. A Felony
    2. Three high level misdemeanors, like DUIs.

    The message to a potential illegal immigrant: if you don’t get caught burglarizing your neighbor’s house or peddling dope to schoolchildren you won’t get deported.

    How hard is that?

  • Oh…the racist and ignorant one known as “CF” speaks. Amazing how this douche bag so freely and easily uses the “N” word and transfers his racist views onto others. What a master of deflection and transfer of one’s own sick internalised ideas onto unsuspecting dupes. You should have been around during the 40’s. You probably could have done a better job than Goebbels at running Hitler’s propaganda machine. I digress, I’m being drawn into applying common sense and reason to a mentally ill crack pot.

  • Wonder if cf has some kinda side bet where he bets his buddies he can get the “n” word by Celeste without being censored. So far it seems he’s probably won more than a few six packs. Hard to believe he would have friends to bet with ,but who knows? Maybe the whole thing is a put on.

  • It is perplexing that the editor allows this offensive word to be so freely used by CF but will quickly defend herself if anyone questions her journalistic integrity or fairness in reporting. I guess Freedom of Speech really only applies if it crosses over and offends ones own uniquely defined boundaries. In this case it would seem, the “N-word” clearly doesn’t cross the line or warrant any censure in the editors eyes.

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