California could become sanctuary state

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Is California going to become a sanctuary state? A bill to expand protections for undocumented immigrants is one step closer to becoming law. 

The state senate passed a bill Monday that would limit law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. It's a controversial issue that brings out passionate opinions on both sides. 

Dolores Huerta Foundation Civic Engagement Coordinator Yesenia Contreras said, "We're happy that SB 54 passed."

The foundation supports California becoming a sanctuary state.

Contreras said, "It would mean that many families would be protected in the state of California from being deported by the ICE agencies."

The bill blocks law enforcement agencies from using resources or personnel to assist in immigration purposes. 

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said, "We're in a position now where ice is allowed to do their job without us being involved."

Kern is one of many California counties that allows ice agents access to its jail. Last, week Youngblood explained why. Youngblood said, "I would prefer those agents in my jail taking custody of an inmate who is a violent felon, as opposed to releasing an inmate into my community and then having ICE go look for him in my community and when they find him, take the other ten people that are with him who may have not committed any crimes but might be in the country illegally."

The Trump administration has threatened to withhold federal funding to sanctuary cities. Senate President Kevin De Leon said he hopes Senate Bill 54 won't hurt the state.

De Leon said, "Will he strike back at us? We don't know. He's the President of the greatest country in the world. It's not about retribution, it's about bringing the country together, not tearing at the fabric of who we are as a nation."

The bill is now headed to the state assembly, where it's expected to pass on party lines. 

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