Local governments in California revolt against state's sanctuary policies
A revolt by local governments against California's sanctuary policies is growing. Huntington Beach has filed suit in federal court to opt out of the state's sanctuary policies for illegal aliens, referring to the law that came into effect January 1 of this year as "constitutional overreach."
Several other municipalities have joined a suit filed last month by the town of Los Alamitos, claiming that the law is unconstitutional. Significantly, the third most populous county in the state, Orange Country, recently voted to join the suit after the sheriff's department announced plans to circumvent the law by informing federal immigration officials of illegal aliens in custody.
Several other cities and towns are considering joining the Los Alamitos suit.
Just last month the city of Los Alamitos started the movement across the state after it voted to opt out of the sanctuary city law over the belief that it "may be in direct conflict with federal laws and the Constitution."
Council members also felt that the law conflicts with their ability to "honor our oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States," which they took upon their appointments.
Other cities and towns have since acted to join a federal lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department which argues that three recent California laws deliberately interfere with federal immigration policies.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously last week to join the lawsuit just after the county sheriff's department announced a new method to inform federal agents about illegal immigrants [sic] that have been released from custody that still complies with the law.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra threatened the sheriff's office with the possibility of arrest.
"State law is state law. It's my job to enforce state law and I will do so."
Huntington Beach could be the first to file a lawsuit outside of the federal government's lawsuit. Council members asked city Attorney Michael Gates "to work with the county or other municipalities that wish to join our efforts," The Orange County Register reported.
I can't recall a similar revolt by local governments against a state statute anywhere else. And the movement to sue the state is growing:
Aliso Viejo Mayor Dave Harrington said his council will discuss similar action next month.
"It is a great thing what they did," Harrington told the Orange County Register. "I think they were spot-on, that we take the oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States."
Buena Park Councilwoman Beth Swift said she will follow the lead as well and will request a discussion on the measure at the next council meeting.
While the state's A.G., Xavier Becerra, was threatening city officials with arrest, California's Senate leader, Kevin de León, who authored the controversial sanctuary law, was threatening small local governments with ruinous lawsuits:
The Los Alamitos Council's "symbolic vote in favor of President Trump's racist immigration enforcement policies is disappointing," de León told the Ventura County Star.
"Local governments that attempt to break state law will saddle their residents with unnecessary and expensive litigation costs."
Nice town ya got there. Be a shame if it went broke because you disagreed with me.
Talk about "unnecessary and expensive litigation costs" – imagine a couple of hundred California local governments suing the state. De León will have all the litigation he wants if that happens.
Obviously, this is an issue made for the Supreme Court. Lower courts will almost certainly rule against the local governments, given how liberal many of them are. But the larger issue of whether California can refuse to enforce federal immigration law will wait for the Department of Justice suit against California's sanctuary policies to be settled.