Thelaw― which went into effect immediately after Brown’s signing ― prevents a person’s immigration status from being disclosed in open court. The only exception would be if lawyers requested a private hearing and a judge then determined the information was admissible.
The legislation, introduced by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D), is meant to enable undocumented immigrants toparticipate in trials without fearof possible repercussions such as deportation if their immigration status is revealed.
“Ourcourthouses should be places of justice, not places where immigrants are threatened with deportation,” Wiener said in a statement. “This law makes everyone in our community safer by ensuring that witnesses and victims of crime are not afraid to report crimes, go to court, and hold criminals accountable.”
The Trump administrationsued California over its sanctuary policies, which limit local cooperation with federal deportation efforts, roughly two months ago.
President Donald Trump has made it a priority to crack down on unauthorized immigration. Under the Trump administration’spolicies, all undocumented people ―not just those with criminal histories― have become targets for deportation.
Immigration and Customs Enforcementarrests increased by 40 percentduring Trump’s first eight months in office compared to the same period the previous year. And the agency has increasingly beenarresting undocumented immigrantswho don’t have criminal convictions.
Last year, after reports of immigration agentstargeting courtroomsto make arrests, the California Supreme Court’s chief justice, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, requested that ICE stop “stalking” immigrants at the state’s courthouses. She noted that while ICE’s actions are technically legal, they instilled fear in immigrant communities and reduced trust in the legal and court systems.
Trump administration officials responded that theywould not let up.
“This was alwaysabout public safety, not immigration,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement about the new bill. “The bipartisan support this bill received is a testament to the fact that community safety benefits when immigrants can come forward without fear of consequences.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.