Advancing Justice-CA Priority Immigrant Rights Legislation Passes California State Senate

Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director at Advancing Justice-LA. (credit: Keyang Pang)

SB 54 (de León) The California Values Act and SB 31 (Lara) Fight for California Religious Freedom Act provide robust protections for vulnerable communities

SACRAMENTO – Asian Americans Advancing Justice – California (Advancing Justice-CA)  applauds the passage of two key California bills that directly fight back against President Trump’s xenophobic and islamophobic policies attacking the nation’s most vulnerable communities. Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León’s Senate Bill (SB) 54 and Senator Ricardo Lara’s SB 31 passed out of the Senate Floor on a 27-12 vote and 36-0 vote, respectively.

SB 54 (de León) The California Values Act will protect the safety and well-being of all Californians by ensuring that our state and local resources are not used to fuel mass deportations.  SB 54 limits state and local law enforcement agencies, school police, and security departments entanglement with federal immigration enforcement. Additionally, the bill directs the California Attorney General to develop sensitive area location policies to be adopted by schools, health facilities, libraries, and courts to ensure access to services for all Californians.

President Trump’s actions on immigration will have a significant impact on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in California, where an estimated 15 percent of the state’s undocumented residents are Asian, comprising approximately 416,000 people. President Trump’s threats and executive orders that would potentially deport as many as 8 million people constitute a witch hunt targeting the most vulnerable in California. Advancing Justice-LA estimates that the largest groups of undocumented Californians of Asian descent are: Filipinos (143,000), Chinese (76,000), Koreans (71,000), Vietnamese (60,000), and Asian Indian (46,000).  Trump’s persecution of immigrants also will harm green card holders who are potentially deportable because of contact with the criminal justice system.

“President Trump’s efforts to carry out mass deportations to tear families and communities apart further undermine trust between communities and law enforcement,” stated Andrew Medina, California Policy Manager for Advancing Justice-CA.  “The CA Values Act upholds our core values of keeping families together, diversity, inclusion, and community safety for all.”

SB 31 (Lara) Fight for California Religious Freedom Act would prohibit a state or local agency from participating in a federal program to create a database based on a person’s religious beliefs, national origin, or ethnicity for law enforcement or immigration purposes. It would also prevent state and local law enforcement agencies from collecting information on the religious beliefs, practices, or affiliations of an individual except under certain circumstances. SB 31 is sponsored by Advancing Justice-CA, American Civil Liberties Union of California,  and the Council of Islamic-American Relations – California Chapter.

“During the 2016 campaign season, President Donald Trump repeatedly made statements that suggested he might create a Muslim registry, even though history has demonstrated that registries based on religious affiliation and national origin are not effective law enforcement or anti-terrorism tools,” said Laboni Hoq. “SB 31 provides robust state action to protect vulnerable communities from ineffective and harmful programs that undermine public safety and diminish public trust in law enforcement.”

SB 54 and SB 31 are proudly supported by Advancing Justice – California due to the vital protections they provide to our communities.  Both bills will now move through the California State Assembly where they will be referred to policy committee for consideration.


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