SANTA ANA — After several Orange County cities declared their opposition to California’s “sanctuary state” law, the Santa Ana City Council on Tuesday, April 3, decided to back the law in court.
The U.S Department of Justice is suing California over the law, which limits when and how state and local government and law enforcement agencies can cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
In recent weeks, cities including Los Alamitos and Huntington Beach, and Orange County supervisors have formally opposed the law at packed and sometimes tense meetings.
Santa Ana declared itself a sanctuary city in 2017.
On Tuesday night, the council voted to have the city file a “friend of the court” brief on the state’s behalf in the federal lawsuit. In stark contrast to other cities’ meetings on the topic, just four residents spoke in the largely empty and quiet council chambers, and three of them supported the council’s action.
Councilman David Benavides, who along with Councilman Vicente Sarmiento brought the proposal forward, said critics of sanctuary rules argue they make communities less safe, but he said the opposite is true because people who fear the police may get them deported may not report crimes as victims or witnesses.
All cities are required to provide data on people they’ve arrested if federal authorities ask, and Santa Ana does that, Councilman Sal Tinajero said.
“We are following federal law, we are just not going out of our way to use our tax dollars to help the federal government do the job that they’re supposed to do,” he said.
At a press conference in front of City Hall earlier Tuesday, Sarmiento cited the Constitution’s 10th amendment, saying it guarantees a city’s right “not to be coerced” to enforce federal immigration laws.
Benavides called out President Donald Trump, saying that during his campaign Trump “spread rhetoric that was very hateful, very spiteful, misinformed, and the sad thing is he continues with that rhetoric.”
“And even more unfortunate is that local electeds, municipalities in Orange County have chosen to adopt that anti-immigrant sentiment.”
Trump tweeted out support last week for Orange County cities fighting California’s sanctuary laws, saying: “California’s Sanctuary laws release known dangerous criminals into communities across the State. All citizens have the right to be protected by Federal law and strong borders.”
Source: Oc Register