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California legislature passes bill to become sanctuary state

Sept. 16 (UPI) — State legislators approved a measure early Saturday morning that would make California a sanctuary state.

The bill, which was passed in the senate by a 27-11 margin and cleared the assembly 51-26, limits the ways state and local law enforcement agencies can cooperate and communicate with federal immigration officers.

The bill forbids local and state law enforcement officers from carrying out practices such as asking about someone’s immigration status, handing a person over to federal immigration authorities if there’s no warrant or establishment of probable cause and disclosing personal information about someone if it isn’t already public information, according to the most recent bill analysis.

The bill also prevents local and state law enforcement from detaining someone over an immigration hold request.

Bill sponsor Sen. Kevin De León, D-Los Angeles, said his legislation doesn’t detract from the ultimate goal of local law enforcement in the state: keeping Californians safe.

“This is a measure that reflects the values of who we are as a great state,” he said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Times reported Gov. Jerry Brown worked with lawmakers to scale back parts of the legislation, which would have previously forbade federal immigration officers from questioning inmates in county jails.

Earlier, the bill also would have prevented local and state law enforcement from relaying information to federal immigration officers unless it was about a person convicted of a violent or serious crime.

The bill faced some opposition, including from the California State Sheriffs’ Association.

The organization put out a release earlier this week, saying that “California’s front-line law enforcement officers do not currently engage in, and have no intention of engaging in, immigration enforcement in the field.”

“Our overarching concern remains that limiting local law enforcement’s ability to communicate and cooperate with federal law enforcement officers endangers public safety,” the group said in the release.

The California’s legislature’s actions come on the heels of a U.S. District Court ruling this week, saying the U.S. Justice Department cannot withhold grant money from local governments, often called sanctuary cities, who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities to pursue suspected undocumented immigrants.

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