In a Small Corner of California, One City Stands Against Sanctuary Tide
Jennifer G. Hickey
It may not have been the equivalent of a political earthquake, but the Los Alamitos City Council decision to exempt itself from the California Values Act, the law restricting local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, certainly shook the status quo in the nation’s largest sanctuary state.The 4-1 vote taken by officials in Orange County’s second-smallest city was an important first step and a giant leap forward in terms of pushing back against the suffocating dictates coming from Gov. Jerry Brown and other open-border advocates in Sacramento.“California legislators are bullying local elected officials into violating our oath of office,” charged Councilman Warren Kusumoto, the lawmaker who spearheaded the legislation.Prior to the vote, Kasumoto told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that the Brown administration has not cracked down yet, but expected they “might come down on us pretty hard.” Noting Los Alamitos gets “a pretty meager amount” in financial assistance from the state, he said they were prepared to reallocate funds or cut services if warranted.According to Ordinance NO. 2018-03, the city council concluded “it is impossible to honor our oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to be in compliance with” the California Values Act. Therefore, the council will exempt itself from Senate Bill 54 and “instead will comply with the appropriate Federal Laws and the Constitution of the United States.”Before it becomes law, the council must approve it again in a scheduled April 16 vote.The Americans Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is aggressively fighting attempts to enforce U.S. immigration law throughout the nation, voiced their opposition in a letter to Mayor Troy D. Edgar and City Manager Bret M. Plumlee.In a Facebook post calling for activists to attend last night’s council meeting, the southern California chapter characterized the ordinance as “a blatantviolation of the City’s legal obligation to follow CA state law and an offensive endorsement of the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant agenda.”The most significant move against California’s sanctuary status to date was taken by the Shasta County Board of Supervisors, which narrowly passed a non-Sanctuary County Resolution in early February.The Los Alamitos action also directed the city attorney to write an amicus brief in support of the March 7 preemption lawsuit filed against California by the Justice Department.“There’s been a real shift to a national, xenophobic acceptability in our society that is heartbreaking,” said Rabbi Jonathan Klein, executive director of the Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice group. “We’re in an era of open bigotry.”The only dissenting voter, Councilman Mark A. Chirco wondered, “Are we not going to follow state law every time we disagree with them? I don’t think that would be prudent.”Of course that same argument should apply to SB 54 itself and the California officials responsible for enacting it. As Chirco suggests, California officials are free to disagree with federal immigration laws and policies; they are not free to defy them.
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