California, Sanctuary State.
We are very much back to politics, True Believers. Normally, I try to avoid politics insofar as it doesn’t often intersect with what I consider as the topics that the web comic and blog cover. However…in the last week, with the numerous executive orders put forth by Mr. Trump, many of my students are now in a serious kind of jeopardy, given their immigration status. That IS in line with the general point of the blog, and on top of that…the past week has seen some serious threats to our right to Free Speech.
Gotta stay on top of that one…so here we go, True Believers. An update from the Resistance.
As President Trump threatens to strip federal funding from so-called “sanctuary cities,” defiant Democrats in Sacramento are doubling down on policies to protect immigrants at risk of deportation — bills that many say would turn California into a sanctuary state.
Let me clarify that, and how it is really something that I need to care about. My school, and EVERY SCHOOL where I have ever worked, gets a Federal Title I grant for assisting socioeconomically disadvantaged students. This funds teacher positions, a meal plan that gets some students their only regular meals, breakfast, books, materials like pencils and paper…it’s an immense influence. The grants are disbursed in amounts that are in the millions.
With Mr. Trump threatening to defund “sanctuary cities” for immigrants that he doesn’t like…he is basically threatening to defund my school, and hundreds across Los Angeles.
Those bills in Sacramento? They are a Big Deal. One would prohibit police officers from collecting information on a person’s immigration status or from responding to certain requests from federal agents. Others would use taxpayer-funded legal aid to help people in deportation proceedings and train defense attorneys on immigration law. In the current environment, my students need that protection, and fast.
The fast-tracked proposals — set for hearings Tuesday (you know, today) — have become a key tactic in California’s resistance against the Trump administration’s policies on immigration. They have drawn plaudits from immigration advocates and criticism from opponents who say they tie the hands of local police and risk further alienating Washington.
I’m okay with alienating Washington. Really. Every day I have charming kids, who did nothing wrong, worried that somehow TODAY is going to be the day that they are suddenly separated from their families, for some obscure point of immigration law. The kids didn’t have any choices in this…and have vast amounts of stress related to it.
In the Bay Area, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and Alameda counties, as well as several local cities like Oakland and San Jose, already have declared themselves sanctuaries, along with dozens of other municipalities up and down the state. But the legislation would require all California communities to adopt similar protections.
The legislative package was introduced in December but has taken on a new sense of urgency among California’s Democratic leaders since Wednesday, when Trump issued executive orders to heighten immigration enforcement and border security. Senate Bill 54, a proposal championed by the leader of the state Senate, Kevin de Leon, would prevent local law enforcement agencies across the state “from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, report, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.”
“We need to stand up for every man, woman and child who has contributed to our community,” said Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, who introduced one of the bills and is co-sponsoring another. “That is under full-frontal attack by the federal administration now.”
I really could not have put things better than that guy. Contact your local reps for California Legislature, and let them know how you feel. E-mail, text, letter…even try smoke signals if you like. Heck…disagree with me on the point and tell, that’s your right. But please…be involved, True Believers.
Right now, California’s Trust Act — passed in 2013 — already restricts the ability of law enforcement to keep someone in custody for immigration authorities after they are eligible for release. The proposed new measures would go further, preventing agencies from collecting information on people’s legal status or from responding to certain requests from federal agents for information, such as phone numbers, work addresses or release dates. You know, to stop the formation of Lists of people to go after, which seems…it seems like I’ve seen that film before.
While most laws passed this year wouldn’t take effect until January 2018, Democrats are pushing this legislation as an urgency measure that would go live before the ink dries on the governor’s signature — if they clear the Democratic-controlled Legislature by a two-thirds margin. While some moderate Democrats, such as Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, are still studying the bill, a two-thirds vote is a distinct possibility, as the Democrats enjoy a supermajority in both houses.
While a spokeswoman for Gov. Jerry Brown said he would not comment on the bills, Brown spoke forcefully in his State of the State address about supporting immigrants. “Let me be clear,” he said. “We will defend everybody — every man, woman and child — who has come here for a better life and has contributed to the well-being of our state.”
Damn straight, Mr. Brown. Damn straight. Well said.
California’s immigration bills essentially “poke Donald Trump in the eye,” said Loyola Law Professor Jessica Levinson — a move that “carries some risk.” But, she said, with its large economy and tax base, which the federal government needs, “California is uniquely situated to be a very powerful voice against federal policy.”
That’s the reality here. In this instance, it is important to remember that California is one of the largest economies in the world. It contributes a vast amount of federal tax dollars, and produces a huge amount of the products that America sells to the world. It’s pretty foolish to play “chicken” with California.
For your review, here’s the Cliff’s Notes Version for those Bills, True Believers:
CALIFORNIA’S IMMIGRATION BILLS
Senate Bill 54, proposal championed by the leader of the state Senate, Kevin de Leon, would prevent local law enforcement agencies across the state “from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, report, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.”
Assembly Bill 3, introduced by Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, would create state-funded centers to train public defenders and other defense attorneys on immigration law.
Senate Bill 6, by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, would create a state program — much like a public defender program — for those facing deportation.
There you have ’em. It’s hard to pick out which of the things that need to be acted on right now to actually act on. This one is an important measure, right now, today. Using the system to start putting a halt to unfair, discriminatory, downright racist policies.
Applejack cleaned up Cap’s beat up old Patriot Suit pretty well for the occasion. And…like she says….it’s filled with legislation, legal actions, and lawsuits.