The Truth About California’s Sanctuary State Law

California’s Sanctuary State law

California’s Sanctuary State Law

California’s Sanctuary State Law, which was introduced as a senate bill in 2016 and passed into law by Governor Brown in 2017, has been the topic of debate but also a source of confusion for many California residents. The law, often referred to as SB 54, officially makes California a “sanctuary state” and puts limitations on the interactions between local and federal authorities with regard to the enforcement of immigration law.

California’s Sanctuary State law has become a major point of division within the state, with some cities strongly supporting the law and others standing in firm opposition. There will always be political divides but where division exists, so does misinformation.

Currently, there are many misconceptions about SB 54, including who the law protects and why. Here is the truth about what’s contained in the law and why a family immigration lawyer is an important asset, even in a sanctuary state.

Understanding the Protections Provided by California’s Sanctuary State Law

The Sanctuary State law builds upon an earlier law passed in 2013 called the California Trust Act – a law that prohibited local authorities from holding any immigrant in custody for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, unless they had already been convicted of a serious crime. The Sanctuary State Law expands on this by offering additional protections for immigrants.

Under the California Sanctuary State law, law enforcement is prohibited from

  • Inquiring about a person’s immigration status or detaining him/her based on their immigration status
  • Assisting in an arrest that is related to a civil immigration warrant
  • Using the personnel or funds of state and local law enforcement agencies to interrogate, investigate, arrest or otherwise detain any individual for the purpose of immigration enforcement
  • Refusing to comply with the limitations put on contact and communications between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities
  • Providing information to immigration authorities regarding a detainee’s release date or other details of their case, unless the information is already available to the public or the detainee has a qualifying criminal charge
  • Complying with any ICE request to hold a detainee in custody past their release date
  • Providing federal immigration authorities with work space in local jail facilities

Why You Need aN Immigration Lawyer in California

There is no shortage of controversy surrounding California’s Sanctuary State law, and this means that any individual with immigration status may find themselves in a defensive position against local authorities.

Under the law, local authorities are permitted to respond to notification requests from immigration authorities under certain circumstances and they are permitted to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement to interview a person in jail or prison in some cases.

If you’re involved in a situation where you feel the California Sanctuary Law has been violated or have any legal concerns about your immigration status, the Law Office of Malathi Benjamin can help. As an immigration lawyer with both professional and personal experience in immigration law, we’re prepared to offer legal counsel on a variety of immigration issues. Contact the Law Office of Malathi Benjamin today to discuss your case.

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Breaking News:

New Law helping spouses of US Citizens

On June 17, 2024 President Biden signed a new law which will help thousands of undocumented spouses of US Citizens apply for permanent resident (green card) status without having to leave the USA. This is not an amnesty and applicants will have to qualify for the new process (Parole in Place). What we know so far in terms of qualifying requirements is as follows:

  1. The applicant must be present in the USA, without having been legally admitted
  2. Must have been continuously present in the USA for at least 10 years as of June 17, 2024
  3. Must be legally married to a US Citizen as of June 17, 2024
  4. Must not have a criminal history which would disqualify them
  5. Must not be a threat to national security or public safety
  6. Must warrant a favorable exercise of discretion

Minor children of the qualifying spouse may also be considered for parole.

BEWARE OF SCAMS. The application process is not yet open and we have to wait for more information from the USCIS before we can file for this benefit.