California’s State Senate recently passed a bill divesting from funding federal prisons and instead allocating those funds to state and county jails.
The bill, Retaining Jail Funding For Local Needs (SB 630), was written by California State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) to focus on state and local needs instead of federal programs such as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“California doesn’t need to pay for federal ICE beds. Why would we direct resources for federal purposes when we have unfunded state and local needs? It just makes sense to put California’s and our counties’ needs first,” Skinner said.
SB 630 would also require counties that apply for jail construction to confirm that they would not be leasing those sites to any other private or public entities such as the federal government, unless they are leasing it to another country.
This would result in a huge sum of money for the California state jail system. Just last summer, Governor Jerry Brown signed the state’s budget, which includes $270 million for jail construction. Keeping those funds from the federal government will make a huge statement of divesting from national interests.
“I do think in the long run … it could lead to the divestment of the state of California from ICE, which should be a long term goal for all immigrant rights activists,” said University of California ASUC Senator Benyamin bin Mohd Yusof.
The bill seems part of a growing Democratic appeal for California to take measures to secede from the federal government under President Trump. In recent years, the UC Students Association has taken major steps to do so within the UC system, including passing a resolution to divest from the United States. UC President Janet Napolitano herself ordered UC Police to refrain from complying with federal law enforcement agencies.
‘Calexit’ may no longer be just an idea. Within the next year or so, the world could be seeing the addition of its newest socialist government.