In the wake of the Justice Department’s lawsuit over California’s interference with federal immigration policies, some cities are now weighing in on the issue.
As reported by NPR, nearly a dozen local California governments have voted against the state’s “sanctuary law,” which protects those crossing into the U.S. illegally.
Senate Bill 54, which was passed last year, aims to limit cooperation between local authorities and federal immigration officials.
California itself is presumed to be home to the largest population of illegal immigrants in the country, and state lawmakers have been outspoken about their distaste for the Trump administration’s policies regarding immigration.
However, not everyone in the state agrees on this issue, as recent polls have shown just how disfavored sanctuary laws are in some parts of the state — including Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County.
On Wednesday morning, the Santa Clarita City Council voted 5-0 to formally oppose the sanctuary bill. Santa Clarita is believed to be the first city in Los Angeles County to do so, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“I don’t understand. When these people have committed a crime … why can’t one agency be able to call another agency?” said Annette Burns, one of many people who packed the council chamber Tuesday night prior to the vote.
“California has overreached,” said Susan Agnes, a local resident who has two children.
The city of Santa Clarita is not alone, as numerous other municipalities, such as Los Alamitos of Orange County, are also unhappy with the state’s sanctuary policy.
Last month, Los Alamitos’ city council passed a measure allowing it to “opt out” of the sanctuary law, according to NPR, with many citizens and officials alike expressing concern over the state’s immigration policies.
“I don’t like the direction California is (going),” said Warren Kusumoto, mayor pro tem of the city.
Kusumoto helped draft the initiative to fight against the sanctuary law, claiming that Los Alamitos has been caught in the middle of what NPR called a “national political fight” over immigration policy.
Los Alamitos is also closely tied to the federal government, as the city of roughly 11,000 people is home to a U.S. military base, as well as several companies with big federal contracts.
However, Kusumoto suggested that the fight is a personal one and that he is frustrated by the broad spectrum of issues, from immigration to taxes, plaguing his city and California in general.
“As a state, we’ve squandered away what the Greatest Generation provided for us,” he said, adding that he, as a Republican Japanese-American, is a product of immigrants.
“I believe my grandparents did it the right way, they were able to immigrate, become naturalized eventually and citizens,” he said. “Why is that not the right way for anybody to come over here as immigrants?”
Many California citizens say their voices are being crowded out by those in more in liberal cities who oppose President Donald Trump and want local authorities to disregard federal immigration laws.
“When you start to legislate that we cannot cooperate or communicate with another law enforcement partner, that is problematic,” said Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes.
“Last week, the sheriff’s office began posting the release dates of inmates online, using an existing database, they say, to alert federal immigration authorities to potential issues,” according to NPR.
The move was widely criticized at the time as an act of defiance against the state.
“We shouldn’t be mixing public safety with politics,” Barnes said. “And there’s a crossover that keeps happening that is becoming more politically driven (that is) disregarding the public’s safety.”
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