California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Chief Division of Law Enforcement Kevin Gardner issued new guidance Wednesday clarifying three sanctuary policies the state passed last year barring state and local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. The guidance says that California state and local law enforcement officers are prohibited from assisting federal law enforcement unless state and local law enforcement are also policing an existing state law.
"This provision does not prohibit inquiries into an individual’s immigration status to immigration authorities, or exchanging immigration status information with any other federal, state, or local government entity," Gardner said.
"In these limited circumstances, a California law enforcement officer may assist any law enforcement official, even if those officials are engaged in immigration enforcement, but only when the California law enforcement officer is enforcing state law,” Mr. Gardner wrote — though he warned that shouldn’t be used as a loophole to enforce broader immigration laws."
Additionally, Becerra and Gardner issued a nine-page document to clarify the responsibilities of state and local law enforcement in accordance with California's "sanctuary" policies.
"We're in the business of public safety, not deportation," Becerra said.
Both documents were issued a the day after California local governments, Orange County and the City of Los Alamitos, voted Tuesday to join a group of states in supporting the Trump Administration’s effort to overturn California laws that block or interfere with federal immigration enforcement.
Pres. Trump praised Orange county for its refusal to comply with California’s sanctuary policies.
"My Administration stands in solidarity with the brave citizens in Orange County defending their rights against California's illegal and unconstitutional Sanctuary policies," Pres. Trump tweeted. "California's Sanctuary laws ... release known dangerous criminals into communities across the State. All citizens have the right to be protected by Federal law and strong borders."
Updated: Thu, May 10th 2018 @ 4:25pm EDT