By Erik Garcia
Many cities in Orange County faced a decision to make last week regarding California being a “Sanctuary State.” Fullerton chose to take no action in Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ federal lawsuit against our state’s laws, including SB 54, that offer a measure of protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants. But the city proved to be the exception. San Juan Capistrano, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, and Aliso Viejo all jumped aboard the Trump Train to the wrong side of history in moving to file court documents in support of the Sessions suit, passing resolutions, or in Surf City’s case, suing the state all on its own.
Another OC city took an entirely different course of action last week. SanTana, which is the only declared “Sanctuary City” in the county, decided not to rest on its laurels. While Trump sympathizers gathered at other meetings defending hate, SanTana city council voted to file a friend of the court brief in the lawsuit against California. In a stark contrast to other cities, SanTana sided with the public safety of its residents, especially the undocumented community that stands to benefit from California continuing to be a Sanctuary State.
Under the guise of “public safety,” cities across the county and state are actually opposing legislation that was put in place to create “safe zones” from immigration enforcement. SB 54 makes sanctuaries of schools and hospitals. It also supports public safety because it helps protect due process for everyone, including undocumented immigrants, who–contrary to what some Trump supporters may think– are extended that right in this country.
Let’s be very clear. Opposition to California being a Sanctuary State is not about public safety, nor has it ever been. This is about pushing a political agenda that endorses hate.
Fountain Valley’s city council voted to formally oppose SB 54 after congressman Dana Rohrabacher offered to help raise money to front the legal fees. At that same meeting, the Los Angeles Times quoted a SanTana resident speaking out against SB 54 by saying, “I’m a little tired of being called a racist because I believe in the law.” It’s telling that Trump supporters will grasp at the “law” as a shield against accusations of racism and xenophobia. As more OC cities step up to the Sanctuary State question this week and council chambers echo with anti-immigrant hysteria again, the truth is laid bare.
Besides, as the history of the United States shows, the law and what’s right have been on opposite sides of the spectrum before. SB 54 aligns the two for a change. Those opposed to California being a “Sanctuary State” want to return the Golden State back to the days of Prop. 187, but we’re too busy moving forward to live in the past.