California lawmakers unveil series of bills to protect immigrants

Bay Area

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — State lawmakers unveiled a new set of proposals on Thursday to strengthen protections for immigrants targeted by federal immigration authorities.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta presented three new bills to bolster California’s protections against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“To do everything in my power to stand up, defend and protect our vulnerable communities,” Bonta said.

The first would protect released convicts who were sentenced when they were juveniles by preventing the department of corrections from giving them over to ICE.

“We shouldn’t be deporting our young people,” Phal Sok said. “We should think about how we can love and resource our communities so they can get labeled in a system that is so cruel and tears us apart.”

Another bill would call for more oversight of  law enforcement agencies participating in the FBI’s terrorism task force — an attempt to prevent what happened to Sirmad Gilani. He’s the son of immigrants and was approached by agents at his work in 2014.

“They began asking me questions about my recent travels to visit family in Pakistan, about drone strikes, Taliban movements and things I had nothing to do with,” Gilani said.

Law enforcement groups Thursday said they’re still reviewing the legislation. Bonta said he expects them to put up a fight.

“I look forward to the opportunity to make my case why this bill shouldn’t concern them but I’m not naive to where they’re likely to be,” Bonta said.

Bonta also wants the state to stop working with any private business offering data or vetting services to federal immigration authorities.

All bills await hearings in assembly committees.

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