Law Office of Ronald A. Cabanayan
Law Office of
Ronald A. Cabanayan

DUI ~ Criminal Defense ~ Immigration/Naturalization

Justice Is On Your Side

California’s sanctuary law leads to court settlement

California’s sanctuary law, known as the Values Act, limits when local police can notify immigration officials about a person’s immigration status. It is one measure to assure that rights are not trampled under any federal immigration and naturalization law. In one case, a Mexican received a $35,000 settlement because he was deported after a Corona police traffic stop.

Police stopped the 35-year-old for speeding as he was taking his daughters to school on Jan. 31, 2019. During the stop, police contacted the U.S. Customs and Border Control and asked about his Mexican license. Corona police refused a request from Border patrol agents to take him to their checkpoint. But a U.S. border agent went to the traffic stop and took him into custody.

The American Civil Liberties Union represented the driver. Along with the ACLU, immigrants-rights advocates denounced this action. They claimed that Corona police violated California Values Act when they asked the driver questions about his immigration status and detained him until the Border Police showed. The ACLU also said that the police violated his constitutional rights.

It is permissible for motorists to drive with a foreign license in California. Police officers may not contact immigration officials to seek information about a driver’s immigration status.

The ACLU filed a $1 million claim against Corona which usually precedes the filing of a lawsuit. But both sides settled the claim earlier this month before a suit was filed.

A police department spokesperson denied that it violated the sanctuary law or engaged in wrongdoing because it handled a traffic stop and was not enforcing immigration laws. But he also said that the facts were unusual and that it settled this claim to avoid litigation disruption and costs.

The motorist is a commercial driver in Mexico and is staying there, according to the ACLU. His wife and three children live in Corona.

After the driver’s detention and deportation, ACLU attorneys and immigrant-rights advocates met with the Corona police chief to review department policies. Additional training was provided to that police department.

An immigration attorney can help you deal with the numerous federal and state laws governing immigration. They can help assure that you rights are protected.