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California Assembly Approves Bill to Protect Immigrant Crime Victims and Witnesses

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In this file photo, Immigration groups holding signs against deportation as part of a protest in Los Angeles in 2013. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

The state Assembly approved a bill on Thursday that would prohibit law enforcement officers from detaining a crime victim or witness on immigration charges or violations.

The legislation, filed by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), was approved with a 69-1 vote and now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

Current state law prevents officers from detaining witnesses to a hate crime on immigration violations or suspicions of immigration offenses. It also prohibits officers from turning over or reporting hate crime witnesses to federal immigration authorities.

On the Assembly floor Thursday, Jones-Sawyer said the bill expands protections for immigrants in the country illegally and “thus promotes social responsibility” for anyone living in California.

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