A bill granting deportation protection to illegal immigrants in California who have been victims of violent crime is currently awaiting signature from Gov. Jerry Brown.
SB 674, or, the Immigrant Victims of Crime Equity Act, passed the state Assembly by a unanimous vote of 66-0 on Thursday.
The legislation, authored by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), reduces the threat of deportation for illegal immigrant victims of violent crime by requiring state and local law enforcement agencies to provide immigrants who have cooperated with investigations of those crimes the necessary certifications to apply for special visas.
Those special visas are called Victim of Criminal Activity visas, or U-Visas, which allow immigrant victims of violent crime to remain in the country.
“Every time a criminal goes free because the victim fears deportation and the police, we are all a little less safe,” de Leon said in a statement, according to the Times of San Diego. “Fear and mistrust are obstacles to the administration of justice.”
The bill will add extra deportation protection for California’s roughly 2.5 million illegal immigrants. SB 674 is just one bill in a package of ten bills called “Immigrants Shape California” that de Leon, Atkins and other state Democrats first proposed in April.
“It should not matter where you became the victim of domestic violence to qualify for a U-Visa,” Atkins said in a statement. “This bill makes it clear that all entities that can certify that a victim was helpful must do so if the victim has suffered due to one of the qualifying crimes and was helpful or is expected to be helpful to the prosecution during the investigation.”
With the Assembly’s unanimous passage, the legislation next heads to Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature.