SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Jerry Brown signed sanctuary state legislation Thursday that extends protections for immigrants living in the United States illegally — a move that gives the nation’s most populous state another tool to fight President Donald Trump.
Brown’s signature means that police will be barred from asking people about their immigration status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities starting Jan. 1. Jail officials only will be allowed to transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities if they have been convicted of certain crimes.
“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 every day,” Brown said in statement.
It was one of several immigration-focused bills that Brown signed Thursday, which was also the final day for young immigrants to renew their permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects them from deportation. Trump intends to end the program if Congress doesn’t act on it.
California is home to an estimated 2.3 million immigrants without legal authorization.
The Trump administration said the sanctuary state bill will make California more dangerous.
The state “has now codified a commitment to returning criminal aliens back onto our streets, which undermines public safety, national security, and law enforcement,” Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, said in a statement.
The measure came in response to widespread fear in immigrant communities following Trump’s election.