Plan would bolster immigration laws
Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/03/2011 09:22:45 AM PDT

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly today will host a rally to gather support for his immigration-reform bill, which is similar to a law that garnered much attention last year in Arizona.

Donnelly, R-Claremont, in December introduced the Secure Immigrations Enforcement Act, or Assembly Bill 26, which is expected to be heard Tuesday by the Judiciary Committee.

The rally will be held at 2 p.m. today on the steps of the state Capitol in Sacramento.

“Our hope is that the strong support of the bill will draw attention to the Legislature to a critical issue that affects every Californian,” Donnelly said. “We hope this won’t be just a party-line vote and that the legislators on the committee will see how critical the issue is to the state of California.”

According to Donnelly’s office, the bill aims to help law-enforcement officers manage illegal immigration in California.

The bill would forbid cities from enacting “sanctuary” policies to protect illegal immigrants and would force employers to follow immigration laws. This would free up jobs for citizens and eliminate incentives for people who come here illegally, Donnelly said.

A.B. 26 would also make it a misdemeanor to be found in the United States illegally and increase the penalty for criminals who traffic illegal immigrants into California for the purposes of sexual slavery.

The bill would also:

Make it illegal to limit enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Prohibit an employer from knowingly employing an illegal immigrant.

Require law enforcement to attempt to verify legal status of people arrested and suspected of illegally living in the country.

Make it a misdemeanor to encourage an immigrant to come to California illegally.

Require a peace officer to impound a vehicle if it is determined the driver is unlawfully in the United States.

Benjamin Avila, a student social- justice leader with the Cesar Chavez Center at Cal Poly Pomona, said he doubts the bill will become law.

“I really don’t think this will come to California,” Avila said. “I think Arizona is a more conservative state, so something like that in California wouldn’t happen.”

Natalie Diaz, also a social-justice leader, said such a law would be harmful.

“It would impact our communities,” she said. “We live in Latino communities, and it’s harmful to our communities because we all work here and help each other out.”

To read entire story, click here.