Originally published by LA Times
With a federal legal fight over the state’s immigration laws pending, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra released two information bulletins for law enforcement agencies on Wednesday, detailing their obligations and the new statistical data they must report to his office under state statutes.
The first provides guidance on the information that agencies must provide about their participation in task forces that involve federal agencies, as well as on the people they transfer to immigration authorities. The second describes the level of cooperation agencies are permitted to have with federal immigration officers as outlined in two state laws, the California Values Act and the Truth Act.
The Trump administration filed a federal lawsuit this month against California over state immigration laws passed last year, including the Values Act, known as the so-called sanctuary state law. It limits local law enforcement from holding and questioning immigrants for federal immigration agencies, as well as communicating information about their release dates.
U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions told a gathering of law enforcement officers in Sacramento earlier this month that California was attempting to keep federal immigration officials from doing their jobs, and he said Democrats were advancing the political agendas of "radical extremists." Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown accused the federal government of launching "a reign of terror."
Becerra’s notices come as the all-Republican Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to try to join the federal lawsuit. Elected leaders in Los Alamitos voted last week to attempt to exempt their city from the sanctuary state law.
Under the California Values Act, law enforcement officials are still able to participate in multi-agency task forces responsible for broad investigations, which sometimes include Immigration and Customs Enforcement criminal investigations. But the primary purpose of such task forces cannot be to enforce immigration laws, and they must submit annual reports to the attorney general on their activities, such as the type and frequency of arrests.
The law builds on the Trust Act, which was signed by Brown in October 2013, and prohibits state and local law enforcement from holding people longer than 48 hours for federal immigration agents — unless they’ve been convicted of certain crimes, most of them serious or violent.
“The guidance we’re issuing today simply gives our public safety authorities a clear sense of what the Values Act — which works in concert, not conflict, with federal law — requires,” Becerra said in a statement. “We’re not going to let the Trump administration coerce us into doing the federal government’s job of enforcing federal immigration law. We’re in the business of public safety, not deportation.”