(UPI) — Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a law designating California a sanctuary state, “bringing a measure of comfort” to undocumented immigrants living there.

The law limits the ways state and local law enforcement agencies can cooperate and communicate with federal immigration officers.

It forbids local and state law enforcement officers from carrying out practices such as asking about someone’s immigration status, handing a person over to federal immigration authorities if there’s no warrant or establishment of probable cause and disclosing personal information about someone if it isn’t already public information.

The law also prevents local and state law enforcement from detaining someone over an immigration hold request.

Upon signing the legislation, Brown issued a signing statement, noting that Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security “are free to use their own considerable resources to enforce federal immigration law in California.”

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“These are uncertain times for undocumented Californians and their families, and this bill strikes a balance that will protect public safety, while bringing a measure of comfort to those families who are now living in fear every day,” he wrote.

The law, which will go into effect in January, comes one month after a U.S. District Court ruling in September said the U.S. Justice Department cannot withhold grant money from local governments, often called sanctuary cities, that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities to pursue suspected undocumented immigrants.

Sam Howard contributed to this report.

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