Have you read about SB54 and wondered what its all about? Our partners at GBLA help clarify what the bill is all about.
What is SB54?
Also known as the California Values Act, SB54 is a law that seeks effective policing and the protection of our safety, well-being, and constitutional rights. Examples of such constitutional rights include the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. SB54 creates a “wall” between California’s resources and federal immigration enforcement because it prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies, school police, and security departments (local law enforcement) from using money or personnel to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes. SB54 also serves as a guide for interaction between local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement, and requires that certain individuals in custody be informed of their legal rights by local law enforcement if immigration wants to contact them while in custody. SB54 allows local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement’s transfer and informational requests in certain circumstances (e.g., when a detainee has been convicted of a serious or violent felony). SB54, however, no longer allows local law enforcement to hold a detainee past the detainee’s criminal custody release date for immigration purposes, also known as an “immigration hold.” SB54 also sets deadlines and parameters for the attorney general in developing and publishing model policies and guidelines for certain government entities
What is the bill’s history?
SB54 was introduced by California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León on December 5, 2016. The bill received wide media attention and generally favorable support, but it has also faced harsh criticism across the nation.
SB54 was one of three California laws challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in a lawsuit filed in federal court on March 6, 2018. On July 9, 2018, the federal court granted California’s motion to dismiss the claims against SB54 without leave to amend. The DOJ later appealed the federal court’s decision. On August 22, 2018, the 9
Circuit Court of Appeals gave the DOJ until September 18, 2018 to file an opening brief. California currently has until October 18, 2018 to answer, and then the DOJ may choose to reply thereafter.
When was it passed and when will it go into effect?
SB54 was approved by Governor Brown and chaptered by the Secretary of State on October 5, 2017. SB54 is effective as of January 2018, but is currently the subject of ongoing litigation.
Why is it important to Kern County?
SB54 explicitly states that “[i]mmigrants are valuable and essential members of the California community. Almost one in three Californians is foreign born and one in two children in California has at least one immigrant parent.” In today’s political climate, SB54 is relevant to our entire community in that it seeks to protect not only immigrants but our entire community. “A relationship of trust between California’s immigrant community and state and local agencies is central to the public safety of the people of California.” SB54’s goal was to bolster trust between our immigrant community and state and local agencies. This trust is central to public safety not only in Kern County, but the entire state of California. SB54 further states that “[t]his trust is threatened when state and local agencies are entangled with federal immigration enforcement, with the result that immigrant community members fear approaching police when they are victims of, and witnesses to, crimes, seeking basic health services, or attending school, to the detriment of public safety and the well-being of all Californians.” By enacting SB54, we have decided that we don’t want to deprive members of our community from an education or medical care based on immigration status. We also don’t want to live in a community where victims and witnesses of crimes are afraid to trust authorities and report crimes because of their immigration status. Instead, we want to ensure that crime is not allowed to flourish on the fears of members of our community due to their immigration status. SB54 emphasizes that “[e]ntangling state and local agencies with federal immigration enforcement programs diverts already limited resources and blurs the lines of accountability between local, state, and federal governments.” California’s resources are not unlimited; therefore, we want California’s resources used for the issues that reflect California’s values only.
How does it impact schools and other public spaces?
SB54 requires California’s Attorney General to publish model policies and guidelines for public schools, public libraries, certain health facilities, courthouses, certain regulatory agencies, and shelters by October 1, 2018. These model policies and guidelines are meant to limit their assistance with immigration enforcement consistent with federal and state law, but these model policies are also meant to ensure that these public spaces remain safe for California residents regardless of immigration status. California’s attorney general published a model policy and guidelines for public schools on April 2018 entitled “Promoting a Safe and Secure Learning Environment for All: Guidance and Model Policies to Assist California’s K-12 Schools in Responding to Immigration Issues.” The document can be found at