Not all California cities are hell-bent on opposing President Trump’s immigration agenda.
As of this week, 11 cities have joined the revolt against SB54 – a California state law that shields illegal immigrants and restricts cooperation with federal immigration law enforcement.
SB54 was signed last October and went into effect on January 1st. In March, Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited California to declare a lawsuit against SB54 and two other statutes.
Dubbed the “California Values Act,” SB54 actually prohibits local cops from informing federal authorities when illegal immigrants facing deportation are released from detention.
“These state laws are preempted by federal laws,” argues Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson. “Our officers actually face penalties under state law if they so much as talk to federal agents for the wrong thing. That’s just unacceptable and it’s contrary to federal law.”
The movement against SB54 in California began with Los Alamitos, a conservative city in Orange County. Last month, the city voted 4-1 to exempt itself from SB54 and filed an amicus brief to join the DOJ lawsuit.
“We cannot let the state begin cherry-picking which federal laws it decides to follow,” said Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel. “As supervisors of this county, we all took oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and bear true faith and allegiance to it against all enemies.”
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens responded to SB54 by publicizing the release dates for all inmates – including illegals. Between January 1st and March 19th, the agency released 172 criminal illegals back into the community because California law blocked authorities from notifying ICE.
“We have an obligation to safeguard our community and we will use every tool available to help hold criminals accountable,” said Undersheriff Don Barnes. “Our inability to relinquish these individuals to the custody of ICE causes them to be returned to the communities which they prey upon.”
Last week, the cities of Newport Beach, Orange, and Westminster voted to join Los Alamitos in opposition of SB54. Other cities are holding debates on the matter, and based on prior opposition to the state’s sanctuary laws, at least some of these cities will join the revolt.
“This is not an immigration issue. We’re all immigrants in this country,” says Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter. “It is really [about] our police force being able to effectively fight criminals and coordinate with other agencies that do the same.”
The growing movement to reject SB54 comes alongside Trump’s decision to send between 2,000 and 4,000 National Guard troops to protect the border until the wall is built.
California Governor Jerry Brown last week quietly agreed to accept troops into California but made it clear they would not be allowed to enforce federal immigration law. One official suggested that troops could even be blocked from accessing the southern border.