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El Dorado County DA Speaks Out Against ‘Sanctuary State Bill’

SACRAMENTO -- Senate Bill 54 has continued to move through the California legislature.

However, El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson is one of many in law enforcement continuing to speak out against what has become known as the "Sanctuary State Bill."

Pierson told FOX40 he isn't as concerned with protections for immigrants, whose only violation is entering the country illegally, as he his with undocumented immigrants who have committed additional crimes.

"Criminals, legitimate people that every one of us would consider to be a criminal...those people are protected by this bill," Pierson said.

SB 54 would forbid local and state law enforcement from cooperating with immigration authorities.

Supporters say the bill simply ensures no state or local money will go toward doing the federal government's deportation work. Pierson says the way the bill was written is unconstitutional.

"States are not free to substitute their judgement for federal law," he said.

Pierson  told FOX40 he believes if the bill passes the California legislature it will be struck down in the U.S. Supreme Court, similar to part of Arizona's SB 1070.

However, Pierson suspects SB 54 would not even make it pass Governor Jerry Brown's desk. He points to a similar immigration proposal, Assembly Bill 1081, from the 2011 to 2012 legislative session that Brown declined to sign.

"A very similar bill was vetoed in 2012 by the governor because, much like this one, it doesn't permit communications about persons who have been convicted of child abuse, and a whole host of other crimes people would consider to be very serious", Pierson said.

FOX40 reached out to Governor Brown about where he stands on SB 54. A spokesperson from the governor's office said Brown typically doesn't comment on pending legislation.

According Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon's office, SB 54 heads to the Assembly's Appropriations Committee in late August. If it passes it could be up for vote in the general assembly by the second week of September.