Statement on Legislative Response to Executive Orders Targeting Immigrants

January 31, 2017
Two of the seventeen federal Executive Orders issued by the White House last week were directed at immigrants. Executive Order #12 directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to prioritize particular undocumented immigrants and broadly expands grounds for deportation. Executive Order #13 prevents immigrants from entering the U.S., specifically people from 7 Muslim majority countries. Both of these Executive Orders could result in the type of repercussions we witnessed over the weekend, with students, professionals, even translators who work for the US government being detained at airports and legal residents currently outside the US prevented from returning home. These and other actions anticipated with the implementation of Executive Order #12 have caused legitimate anguish and panic throughout our communities. Families fear being torn apart or never again seeing loved ones, regardless of their legal status. This fear does not benefit us. Such fear can lead people to not trust or cooperate with law enforcement officials, social service agencies, or schools. Our ability to maintain community health and safety relies on everyone’s willingness to report crimes and to seek needed services from health and social service agencies. Yesterday, I voted along with all of my Senate Democratic colleagues, in support of Senate Resolution SR 16 authored by Senator De León that denounces Executive Order #13, it’s discriminatory travel ban and subsequent enforcement. As I stated on the Senate Floor in support of the bill, the recent Executive Orders are creating panic and fear, they are not contributing to public safety. Today, I convened the Senate Committee on Public Safety to hold a hearing on SB 54 (De León). This bill is intended to limit the involvement of state and local agencies in federal immigration enforcement in order to protect California residents from the impacts of these Orders. By enacting SB 54 the Legislature is making it clear that the State of California will not be complicit with authoritarian policies that do not increase or improve the safety and welfare of Californians or our communities. I am proud of the loud and clear expressions by residents of Senate District 9, Californians throughout the state and those across the country that have stood up for the rights and dignity of all people and have resisted unjust and divisive actions. We will continue to act decisively and not be passive. Respectfully, Nancy Skinner California State Senator - District 9