Coming forward to report a serious crime can no longer get you deported in California.
On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1261, dubbed the “Immigrant Rights Act,” his office announced.
The bill, which was authored by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón and sponsored by Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), is designed to encourage undocumented immigrants who are victims of crime to come forward without fear of being turned over to immigration officials.
Crimes covered under the new law include stalking, extortion, domestic violence, prostitution, rape, human trafficking and kidnapping, among others.
“Your immigration status should never be a barrier to safety,” Gascón said when the legislation was first introduced. “Public safety for everyone and equal access to the justice system is possible if we protect those that are most vulnerable.”
“Californians should not lose their livelihoods simply because they came forward to report a crime,” said Assembly Member Santiago. “With AB 1261, we not only have a chance to reduce crime but also protect some of our most vulnerable community members.”
The bill had broad support from immigrant rights advocates including L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, the Koreatown Youth & Community Center, Chinatown Service Center, and the Thai Community Development Center.
It passed overwhelmingly in both houses of the legislature without a single nay vote.
Gascón says undocumented people who fall victim to crime decline to come forward 83% of the time.