SACRAMENTO -- Twenty-eight of California's congressional representatives are throwing their weight behind state legislation that would make it harder to deport immigrants who are in the country illegally.
The representatives -- all Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco -- sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown urging him to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.
The bill, known as the Trust Act, "establishes a bright line standard between local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement" and would "continue California's proud tradition of being a leader on smart and sensible policies," the letter says.
The representatives said unnecessary deportations have "reduced the willingness of immigrant and non-immigrant crime victims and witnesses to cooperate with local law enforcement, and consequently has diminished public safety."
Among the letter's signatories are Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Mike Honda both of San Jose, and recently departed members of the state Legislature now in Washington such as Reps. Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach and Jared Huffman of San Rafael.
The bill (AB 4), authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), would limit local law enforcement's role in working with federal authorities to begin deportation proceedings.
California congressional representatives had urged Brown to sign a previous version of the legislation last year, but the governor vetoed it over concerns it was too broad. It has since been amended to expand the types of crimes and misdemeanors that could trigger the deportation process.
The bill is now awaiting a vote on the Senate floor.