At its September 19 meeting, the Long Beach City Council is considering a proposal to support and expand on California Senate Bill (SB) 54, also known as the California Trust Act or the “sanctuary state” bill. Vice Mayor/Councilmember Rex Richardson and Councilmembers Jeannine Pearce and Roberto Uranga are also signed onto the “Long Beach Values Act of 2017 & Local Policy” proposal by 1st District Councilmember Lena Gonzalez.
In a September 5 letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, Mayor Robert Garcia wrote, “As a vibrant, multicultural city, Long Beach thrives on the ingenuity, entrepreneurship and diversity of our immigrant communities and American-born residents. . . . Long Beach, along with other major cities and the State of California, believe enforcing immigration at the local level undermines the trust and cooperation with immigrant communities, which are essential elements of community-oriented public safety.”
While the senate bill would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect or arrest people for immigration enforcement purposes, the Long Beach proposal would direct city staff to partner with local immigrant rights organizations, the Long Beach Sanctuary City Coalition, Centro C.H.A., California State University Long Beach, Long Beach City College and the Long Beach Unified School District in expanding the policy in the following ways:
- Protecting and advocating for local DACA and DREAMer students.
- Preventing future deportations of local residents.
- Examining partnerships with L.A. County for local legal defense fund.
- Protecting the confidentiality of local immigrant residents and their information and ensuring no city resources are used to create registries based on religious affiliation, immigration status or any other protected class such as gender, sexual orientation, race, etc.
- Affirm an aggressive approach to advocating at the federal and state level for pro-immigrant policies.
In a September 8 tweet following the announcement of the proposal, Garcia wrote, “I’m looking forward to signing more immigrant protections into law.” On September 12, Garcia tweeted, “Looking forward to [Gov. Jerry Brown] signing SB 54 – thank you [Kevin de León] for pushing.”
Police agencies statewide have a voiced mixed opinions regarding the California Trust Act. Following amendments to the senate bill as of September 11, the California State Sheriffs’ Association remains opposed to the measure unless further amendments are made. The association requested amendments to give local law enforcement the ability to notify federal law enforcement of the pending release of wanted, undocumented criminals, including but not limited to repeat drunk drivers, serial thieves, animal abusers, chronic drug users and known gang members.
“We protect and serve all those who live, work and visit our jurisdictions, regardless of their immigration status,” the sheriffs’ association stated in a September 12 press release. “Our overarching concern remains that limiting local law enforcement’s ability to communicate and cooperate with federal law enforcement officers endangers public safety.”
However, Jim Foster, vice president of the Long Beach Police Officers Association, said it is not the place of police agencies to take a stance on the law but to uphold it.
“The officers of the Long Beach Police Department respect the laws and the process by which they are made. Whatever decisions our lawmakers choose, we will enforce appropriately,” Foster said. “We take a neutral stance as far as the spirit or intent of the law. That’s not our purpose. But we will enforce the laws that the legislature deems fit.”
Senate Bill 54 must be approved by the state assembly before lawmakers adjourn tomorrow.