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Fountain Valley enters sanctuary city fray after Rohrabacher offers to pay legal costs

Fountain Valley City Council members did a bout-face over the course of a few hours Tuesday, April 3 – beginning the night with four out of five stating opposition to taking action against California’s controversial sanctuary law yet later going another direction.
Council members John Collins, Larry Crandall and Steve Nagel voted in favor of filing an amicus brief –  “friend of the court” – in support of the lawsuit against California filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Crandall, appointed to the council in February after Mark McCurdy resigned, put the item on the agenda.
Cheryl Brothers voted no, and Mayor Michael Vo abstained.
Passed last year, the California Values Act prohibits state and local agencies from detaining people for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Justice Department filed its suit against California on March 6. Municipalities face an April 6 deadline to file an amicus brief.
In March, Los Alamitos voted to exempt itself from state sanctuary laws, which seemed to nudge others to consider stands – including Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo and Yorba Linda. On March 27, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to join the Trump administration lawsuit.
At the start of the Fountain Valley meeting, all of the council members except Crandall agreed that filing an amicus brief at the cost of several thousand dollars would not be a practical use of public funds.
Nagel said the issue “will be resolved at the federal level.”
“Let’s wait and see what happens and not cause animosity between residents,” Nagel said.
Brothers argued that “any action taken would be purely symbolic.”
“Just to get this item to the agenda was $3,000, and it will be an additional $6,000 to file an amicus brief,” Brothers said.
U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, the first of about 50 speakers, promised council members that he would find a way to pick up the tab.
“I will personally either raise the money or take it out of my campaign treasury,” he said. “Side with Americans and not with illegal alien criminals.”
Throughout the evening, people of different viewpoints shouted across the chamber at one another.
“We will vote you out!” someone yelled at council members when they initially expressed doubts about the amicus brief.
Another person responded, “You don’t even live here!”
Indeed, at least a dozen of the people there to speak against California’s sanctuary laws came from other cities.
“I am not a resident of Fountain Valley – I am a resident of the United States,” said Dura Young, there from Downey to endorse the battle against sanctuary cities.
Kelly Kraus-Lee of Fountain Valley asked the council to give residents priority.
“Listen to those of us who have three generations of family here,” she said. “Let’s not waste our precious resources on a political stunt.”
After a dozen other residents spoke against siding with the federal lawsuit, Sheryl Martinez said, “I feel more proud than ever to be a resident of Fountain Valley, listening to my neighbors.”
Genevieve Peters of Los Angeles wanted Fountain Valley to back the federal lawsuit.
“We are very emotional and passionate about this issue because we have been forgotten as American citizens, and now we have a forum where people will listen to us,” Peters said.
Fountain Valley resident Steve Dahlberg said that sanctuary cities create a “lawless quagmire.”
“Our government has lost its way,” he said. “This group of people breaks the law and then the state bends over backwards to protect them.”
After the vote, Collins said he changed his mind because of Rohrabacher’s offer to pay the legal costs.
“We’ll see,” Brothers said. “Stay tuned.”
Source: Oc Register

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