Call today and urge your State Senator to support SB54 the California Values Act, which protects the safety and well-being of all Californians by ensuring that state and local resources are not used to toward deportation and separating California families. This important bill is up for a vote in the State Senate on Monday, April 3.
SB 54 upholds California’s core values of equal treatment, community, family unity and common humanity by ensuring that California’s police departments, schools, state health facilities and courthouses remain accessible to Californians from all walks of life. SB 54 guarantees that state and local law enforcement agencies, school police and security departments will not engage in immigration enforcement, and that critical state and local public safety funds and resources will not be used for immigration enforcement purposes without a judicial warrant.
SB 54 also seeks to avoid deterring or excluding noncitizen residents from making appropriate use of state services by requiring state agencies to review their confidentiality policies and identify any provisions that require additional confidentiality safeguards. SB 54 also directs the California Attorney General to publish model policies for these locations to ensure they remain safe and accessible to all California residents, regardless of their immigration status.
Immigrants are part of California’s heart and soul and have deep roots in its neighborhoods and communities. Previous federal programs that utilized local law enforcement in federal immigration enforcement have had devastating fiscal and social impacts on California. The deeply controversial federal “Secure Communities” or “S-Comm” program, which was found unconstitutional by a federal court in 2014, operated in California as an indiscriminate deportation program that cost the state’s taxpayers $65 million annually. The current federal Priority Enforcement Program continues to undercut immigrant communities’ confidence in law enforcement by entangling state and local public safety resources with the deportation system.
Currently, in many localities, ICE also reviews inmate logs and searches jail computers to gather addresses and telephone numbers to conduct raids, which can traumatize family members and invokes widespread fear in immigrant communities. Aggressive federal immigration enforcement strategies are likely to increase with the new administration as President Trump has prioritized increased deportation of broad categories of immigrants.
In addition to advancing public safety, SB 54 will also save California money by avoiding the shared costs of deportation, which include the loss of tax revenue and increased reliance on foster care and other social services after the deportation of a family’s primary wage earner. At this time of rising anti-immigrant rhetoric, the California Values Act reaffirms the state’s commitment to valuing and protecting its immigrant communities and sends a powerful message of inclusion across the nation.
Our tradition offers teachings about the importance of providing sanctuary for immigrants. The Torah instructs “When strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong. The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself” (Leviticus 19:33-34). More recently, we recall the immigrant experiences of our own families, many of whom came to North America seeking safety and freedom from persecution. We have an obligation to advocate for a law enforcement system that treats all people, immigrants and non-immigrants alike, with respect and that affords them a basic guarantee of security from wrongdoing.
More information on SB 54 is available here. The text of the bill is available here, through the California legislature. For more information on Reform California, visit our website, or contact:
Rabbi Jessica Kirschner, California Director of Leadership and Congregations
Rabbi Joel Simonds, West Coast Legislative Director
Lee Winkelman, California Director of Organizing
Search URJ.org and the other Reform websites: