Senate approves bill to prohibit mention of immigration status in open court

The Senate last week passed SB 785 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) which was recently amended to prohibit the disclosure of a person’s immigration status in open court in criminal and civil actions unless the party seeking the disclosure requests a confidential in-camera hearing and the court determines that the evidence is relevant and admissible.

The bill would also prohibit the inclusion of a person’s immigration status in public court records unless a court determines the person’s status is relevant and admissible.

The bill was passed on a 32-7 vote.

CNPA opposes the measure because it does not follow well-established Constitutional principles for closing courtrooms.

The bill was introduced to protect undocumented individuals from being identified, arrested and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who have increasingly used California courthouses to search for suspected undocumented immigrants for deportation purposes.

SB 785 moves to the Assembly where it will be heard by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.