California officially became America’s first “sanctuary state” Monday, as a bill Governor Jerry Brown signed into law took effect.
The law stops police in the nation’s most populous state from asking people about their immigration status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities in most cases, Fox News reported.
California is home to an estimated 2.3 million illegal immigrants but some experts say way more exist.
“These are uncertain times for undocumented Californians and their families, and this bill strikes a balance that will protect public safety, while bringing a measure of comfort to those families who are now living in fear everyday,” Brown said on the day he signed the bill.
But the measure has drawn a rebuttal from an unidentified source, as signs mocking the law have appeared below the “Welcome to California” signs that greet motorists as they enter from Arizona and Nevada.
“OFFICIAL SANCTUARY STATE,” the signs declare. “Felons, Illegals and MS13 Welcome! Democrats Need The Votes!”
California passed the bill just as President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions we’re pledging to crack down on sanctuary cities that refuse to follow Federal immigration law and cooperate with ICE.
President Trump repeatedly pointed to the case of Kate Steinle, a woman who was fatally shot July 1, 2015, on a San Francisco pier by an illegal immigrant. The defendant went on trial for murder, but was acquitted in November 2017.
“No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration,” the president tweeted after the verdict, which he labeled “disgraceful.”
Other members of the Trump administration spoke out against the California proposal.
“The bill risks the safety of good law enforcement officers and the safety of the neighborhoods that need their protection the most,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in September, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Added Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: “By passing this bill, California politicians have chosen to prioritize politics over public safety.
“Disturbingly, the legislation serves to codify a dangerous policy that deliberately obstructs our country’s immigration laws and shelters serious criminal alien offenders,” Homan’s statement continued.
Prior to Brown’s approval, California’s Legislature passed the measure in September.