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Sanctuary tension rising in the Golden State

By Ziyi Zeng (People's Daily)    10:45, February 06, 2018

Los Angeles (People's Daily)--Since California became a sanctuary state on January 1, tensions have flared between state and federal authorities.

Both sides are matching each other’s efforts centered around the fate of the immigrant community.

A recent Pew study found that California is home to more undocumented immigrants than any US state.

SB-54 was introduced by California Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León in response to President Trump’s widened deportation measures.

and local law enforcement can no longer use their resources to enforce immigration laws.

Law enforcement is prohibited from asking about someone’s immigration status.

Additionally, California authorities are no longer allowed to cooperate with federal immigration agencies such US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Today, there are six states, hundreds of counties and cities which have adopted similar sanctuary policies shielding undocumented immigrants from authorities, according to data from the Center for Immigration Studies.

Democrat leaders have always held that most undocumented immigrants in the US are law-abiding and productive members of society who contribute to the economy.

But the Trump administration’s position on undocumented immigrants sees them as criminals living under the umbrella of sanctuary jurisdictions.

Since his presidential campaign, Trump has cited examples of Americans who have been victimized by illegal immigrants.

Within days of officially becoming a sanctuary state, ICE acting director Thomas Homan said during a nationally televised interview on Fox News, “California better hold on tight.” And by then, US Federal deportation authorities were already on their way.

Preparations could be underway by federal immigration authorities targeting some 1,500 undocumented immigrants in the Bay Area, according to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle.

In an email response to Global Times, ICE Public Affairs Officer James Schwab said he was unable to “speculate about future enforcement actions.”

On January 11, it was reported ICE authorities were targeting 7-11 convenience stores in California and across the US, conducting interviews with store employees to determine if they were eligible to work in the US.

Meanwhile, local communities and state leaders have organized federal law enforcement watchdog groups that have reported the possible arrival of a “deportation force.”

“We are prepared, and you are not alone,” said San Jose Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco on January 24.

San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Oakland have established hotlines to help residents report unlawful activities like immigration raids in their communities.

The Los Angeles branch of the Rapid Response Network (LARRN) is a group of community organizers and volunteer lawyers, “ready to respond to immigration raids and increased enforcement,” according to their website.

When asked if she was willing to go to jail to protect her cities sanctuary policies, during an interview, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf answered with a firm “yes!” 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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