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California sanctuary law, SB 54, violates civil and criminal immigration provisions. By Nolan Rappaport

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WWW.ACLUSANDIEGO.ORG

On October 5, 2017, California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., approved Senate Bill 54 (SB 54), the California Values Act.

In a letter to the California State Senate, he says this bill will protect public safety and bring a measure of comfort to families who are now living in fear every day.

I share the governor’s desire to help the families of undocumented aliens, but this is not the way to do it.

SB 54’s rejection of immigration detainer requests is appropriate, but the rest of the bill does little more than make it easier for undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States illegally, and it does it in ways that are prohibited by civil and criminal federal immigration laws.

My point is that the State of California shouldn’t be doing things that are prohibited by federal law or that would be a felony if done by an individual. I am not suggesting that there will or should be an attempt to prosecute Brown or any other California official for the criminal offense.

Highlights From Legislative Counsel’s Digest of SB 54.


  • SB 54 repeals existing law which requires the police to notify ICE when there is reason to believe that a person arrested for a controlled substance violation may be an alien;
  • Prohibits law enforcement agencies from using their resources to investigate, detain, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes;
  • Directs the California Attorney General to publish model policies and guidance on limiting assistance and the availability of information for immigration enforcement purposes; and designated entities, such as state and local police, will be required to follow them; and
  • Requires the Board of Parole Hearings and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to obtain written consent from aliens before permitting ICE to interview them regarding civil immigration violations.


ICE Immigration Detainers.

Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...b08ce873a8cf53

Published originally on Huffington Post.

About the author. Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.




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  1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    There is a well-known historical legal precedent for arresting and prosecuting officials or private persons who tried to protect members of a targeted minority from being persecuted by the central government.

    That precedent was known as the Nuremberg Laws, the year of enactment was 1936, the country was Germany and the targeted minority was the Jews. Using the criminal laws against "harboring" or "assisting" immigrants against state or local officials, or other people who try to protect Hispanic or other minority immigrants against Trump's program of ethnic cleansing through mass deportation, would be in the same spirit as the German legislation referred to above.

    Even without this kind of ominous historical precedent, the federal laws against "harboring" or "assisting" unauthorized immigrants are unconstitutionally vague because these two terms could mean anything and everything.

    American citizens or lawful permanent residents who simply live together with an out of status spouse, child, parent or sibling could easily be deemed to be "harboring" that person; providing legal advice pr medical treatment to such a person might also be deemed to be "assisting" an unauthorized immigrant.

    A husband or wife who files for adjustment of status to permanent resident for his or her currently out-of status spouse could also be considered to be "harboring" or "assisting" an unauthorized immigrant; it has been USCIS policy for almost a decade that merely filing for adjustment does not confer legal status on the applicant unless the person already has some other status, so the I-485 applicant and beneficiary of the I-130 petition filed by the USC spouse in this example, would still be "illegal" right up to the time of receiving the green card.

    This could take six months or more after applying for permanent residence - should the USC marriage partner go to jail for "harboring" or "assisting" his or her out of status spouse while the spouse is waiting for his or her green card to be approved?

    Here is another hypothetical example of how the "harboring" or "assisting" laws which Nolan is holding up as a an example of immigration enforcement to be considered might work in practice.

    A customer who walks into a foreign cuisine restaurant (are there any other types of restaurants in New York, where I live?) and tips a waiter or bartender who may be speaking English with an accent (if at all), might be deemed to be "assisting" an unauthorized immigrant in "reckless disregard" of that person's lack of legal status.

    This is not to say that Nolan, or even Attorney General Jeff Sessions himself, are actually recommending prosecutions in the above hypothetical situations; clearly they are not.

    But once such a vague and sweeping law is used for any purpose, such as punishing state or local officials for failing to fall in lockstep behind Trump's mass deportation agenda to "rid" this country of Latino, Asian, Black and Middle Eastern immigrants, the door is then opened to using it for any and all other purposes as well.

    If and when this happens, America could no longer be called a democracy; it will become a fascist or other totalitarian state, similar to the above example of Germany between the years 1933 and 1945; or to Soviet Russia or today's North Korea.

    Once this Pandora's Box of totalitarian legislation is opened, how can anyone put the lid back on?

    Or, if I may be forgiven for using a literary image stemming from a part of the world whose citizens America's president wants to ban from entering this Land of the Free purely because of their religion or national origins, (in a throwback to the 1924 U.S. "national origins" immigration law which the same German politician who also later, in the capacity of Fuehrer, gave his country the Nuremberg Laws, admired so much; or even to the infamous Chinese exclusion laws), once the genie (Arabic: djinn) of fascist or totalitarian laws is let out of the bottle, who can possibly put it back in?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-09-2017 at 11:59 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    While this following comment is admittedly beyond the scope of Nolan's article, it is still worthy of note that even a respected Republican Senator such as Bob Corker (Tennessee) is now talking openly about Trump's need for "extended day care" and his lack of fitness for the office of president. There must be many other Republican leaders who feel the same way but who, unlike Corker, are reluctant to say so because they will be running for re-election. See:

    http://thehill.com/opinion/finance/3...p-country-safe

    What do these questions about his mental health have to do with Trump's immigration policies? I am not a mental health expert, so I will not try to answer this question. But, as Trump pursues one cruel, vindictive and destructive immigration policy after another, whether his Muslim ban, Border Wall, Mass Deportation or RAISE Act White Europeans only reversion toward 1924 immigration policies concerning admission of legal immigrants, the presidential mental health issue bears more watching and will no doubt be the subject of more and more discussion, among more and more Americans, as time goes on.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-09-2017 at 01:15 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    While this following comment is admittedly beyond the scope of Nolan's article, it is still worthy of note that even a respected Republican Senator such as Bob Corker (Tennessee) is now talking openly about Trump's need for "extended day care" and his lack of fitness for the office of president. There must be many other Republican leaders who feel the same way but who, unlike Corker, are reluctant to say so because they will be running for re-election. See:

    http://thehill.com/opinion/finance/3...p-country-safe

    What do these questions about his mental health have to do with Trump's immigration policies? I am not a mental health expert, so I will not try to answer this question. But, as Trump pursues one cruel, vindictive and destructive immigration policy after another, whether his Muslim ban, Border Wall, Mass Deportation or RAISE Act White Europeans only reversion toward 1924 immigration policies concerning admission of legal immigrants, the presidential mental health issue bears more watching and will no doubt be the subject of more and more discussion, among more and more Americans, as time goes on.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Roger asks, "What do these questions about his mental health have to do with Trump's immigration policies?" I have a different question, What does his mental health have to do with my article? It's about a California law violating two federal laws. One of the federal laws was added to the INA in 1996 and the other long before 1996. Trump had nothing to do with the passage of either of those laws.

    Remember ink blot tests? If Roger took an ink blot test, every random splash of ink on the paper would remind him of something terrible that Trump has done.

    Nolan Rappaport
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