More than 2.3 million undocumented immigrants in California are now officially protected under a new state sanctuary law. Governor Jerry Brown signed Thursday the California Values Act, which bars police departments from detaining people based on their immigration status and prevents immigrants from being delivered to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers unless they are convicted of certain felonies and misdemeanors.
The policy also will limit the amount of personal information federal immigration officials can access on undocumented immigrants. Senate Bill 54, which has been criticized by President Donald Trump and is seen by many as a direct challenge to his recent crackdown on illegal immigration, will come into force on January 1.
The bill’s main sponsor, Senate President Kevin de Leon, praised the timing of the bill, stating it was needed in the climate of what he described as Trump’s “mass deportation strategy,” The Hill reported. He said California was “building a wall” against Trump, a nod to the president's repeated, but unrealized, promise to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S.