SACRAMENTO -- Immigrants, supporters and other members of the Service Employees International Union gathered Tuesday to rally in support of two bills that aim to protect people who are in the country illegally.
Senate Bill 54, better known as the "Sanctuary State Bill," would block state and local law enforcement agencies from working with federal groups on immigration enforcement. Assembly Bill 450 would require employers to ask federal authorities for a warrant before letting them onto their property.
"We need to be able to trust and go and say, 'Hey, we are a part of those communities and crimes have been committed against me,'" SIEU Vice President Sandra Diaz said. "If you have that link, out communities will not speak up and will not go forward."
The rally brought people from across the state to Sacramento.
"I'm here because this is a very important issue. We need a path to citizenship," Laurie Mason said.
Mason is a public defender from Kern County.
"I have clients that are afraid to give me witnesses, alibied witnesses, so they are afraid to sacrifice their liberty to protect their family and friends because they are so afraid of ICE," Mason said.
But critics of the bills say without cooperation between local law enforcement and federal officials, repeat criminals will be back on the street.
In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that would allow police to ask questions about immigration status.
Diaz says her goal is to prevent laws like that from being passed in California.