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A week and a half ago, Cal­i­fornia law­makers passed the “Cal­i­fornia Values Act.” Reading the title of the bill, you may have been opti­mistic that Cal­i­fornia was actually pro­moting some­thing moral. Allow me to dash your hopes.

The bill, which waits on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, pre­vents the depor­tation of illegal immi­grants and pro­tects their criminal activity.

Local law enforcement is pro­hibited from stopping illegal immi­grants to ask about cit­i­zenship status. The bill blocks local enforcement from coop­er­ating with federal immi­gration offi­cials — Immi­gra­tions and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — pre­venting the trans­mission of data regarding illegal immi­grants sus­pected of criminal activity. It reads: “This bill would, among other things and subject to excep­tions, pro­hibit state and local law enforcement agencies…from using money or per­sonnel to inves­tigate, inter­rogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immi­gration enforcement pur­poses.”

Cal­i­fornia law­makers are effec­tively tying local law enforcement’s hands behind their backs. Some law­makers claim that crime from immi­grants is a non-issue, but the facts say oth­erwise. According to a Gov­ernment Account­ability Office report, immi­grants — both legal and illegal — make up 27 percent of inmates in federal prison. Even though non-cit­izens only account for 9 percent of the pop­u­lation, they commit crimes at three times the rate of the natural-born citizen. The crimes range from robbery to assault and murder.

But the risk of increased crime is irrel­evant to Cal­i­fornia law­makers. Their main goal is to oppose Pres­ident Donald Trump’s crackdown on immi­gration. Senator Kevin de León, pres­ident pro tempore of the Cal­i­fornia State Senate and author of the bill, has even con­fessed that half of his family is in the country ille­gally. He also openly stated that the bill is designed to prevent the Pres­ident from enforcing federal laws and is the only way to “stop the Trump depor­tation machine.”

The Cal­i­fornia State Sheriff’s Asso­ci­ation crit­i­cized the leg­is­lature for choosing “political sym­bolism over public safety.”

In support of the bill, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said law enforcement must earn the con­fi­dence of illegal immi­grants: “We do not want to lose trust, because we believe trust is the most important thing in policing.”

Why is the con­fi­dence of those in the country ille­gally pri­or­i­tized over that of legal cit­izens? As a Cal­i­fornian, I no longer feel pro­tected knowing law enforcement could be forced to release crim­inals onto the streets. If law is not enforced, trust between law enforcement and the com­munity is impos­sible.

The rule of law has been des­e­crated. Not only are illegal immi­grants allowed to roam free, but their criminal actions will be safe­guarded. Sandra Hutchins, Orange County sheriff, pointed out the alarming con­se­quences of the bill, saying the leg­is­lation “would pro­hibit me as a sheriff from noti­fying [ICE] of someone who’s in custody for a felony such as domestic vio­lence, human traf­ficking or rape and the potential felon would be released to the street.”

If Sandra attempted to coop­erate with federal immi­gration enforcement, the state could pros­ecute her for doing her duty to protect her com­munity.

In the short term, illegal immi­grants turned crim­inals will be released onto the streets — free to wreak havoc on Cal­i­for­nians without fear of detainment or depor­tation.

In the long term, the erosion of the rule of law will threaten the very framework of our nation’s gov­ernment. The rule of law allows cit­izens to freely exercise their rights — no man is given pref­er­ential treatment under the law and each person’s ability to exercise their God-given rights is safe­guarded.

Without the rule of law, tyranny will rule the day.

 

Ryan Murphy is a junior studying pol­itics.