They keep coming.
City councils in Orange County are passing resolutions, filing court documents supportive of a federal lawsuit and even suing California on their own against its “Sanctuary State” laws. This week, three more city governments will consider taking action in various forms in a revolt first unleashed by Los Alamitos last month. Not to be left out of the Know Nothing party, Newport Beach, Orange and Westminster are up next.
Orange has been here before. Back in 2010, council declared Orange a “Rule of Law” city in support of Arizona’s SB 1070. The state law gave local law enforcement discretion in asking for immigration papers, a controversial provision critics assailed as one that’d lead to racial profiling. Duane Roberts, a Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate at the time, drafted a “Ruled By Clowns” resolution for Orange city council in response.
Eight years later, the circus is back in town. City councilman and OC GOP Chair Fred Whitaker, alongside councilman Mark Murphy, requested the adoption of a resolution backing Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ suit against the state. The draft cites Orange’s past resolution in 2010 in seeking to opt-out of SB 54 and deems undocumented immigrants simply as “aliens.” The proposed resolution recommends directing the city attorney to file an amicus curiae brief in support of the Sessions suit. Orange city council meets this evening at 6 p.m.
Newport Beach city council is looking to get in on the action this same evening. They’ll be considering a resolution formally opposing SB 54 but are stopping short of filing supportive court documents. Citing the city’s own recent history, the agenda item notes that council previously directed the city manager in August to send a letter to California State Senator Kevin de León who sponsored SB 54 before it became law.
The draft resolution leans heavily on the “public safety” trope familiar to like-minded efforts. “The City Council is committed to protecting the City of Newport Beach’s residents through the enforcement of local, state, and federal laws,” it reads. “The adoption of SB 54 has created a conflict between state and federal law and has restricted local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal authorities to protect California residents.” Newport Beach city council also meets this evening, but starts at 7 p.m.
Last but not least is Westminster. Councilwoman Margie Rice (she’s still alive?) is pushing for the city council to file supportive court documents and isn’t bothering with a resolution. The agenda item for Wednesday’s meeting at 7 p.m. cites all the other OC agencies that have done the same: Yorba Linda, Mission Viejo, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley. It left out Aliso Viejo which voted to file an amicus brief in the Sessions suit last week. San Juan Capistrano solely adopted a resolution against SB 54. Fullerton considered the same, but ultimately took no action. Going in the opposite direction, Santa Ana voted to file in favor of California against Sessions.
This week won’t spell the end of OC’s anti-sanctuary state revolt, though. It returns to Los Alamitos on Monday where it all began. That’s when city council will vote on a second reading of an anti-sanctuary state ordinance. Los Alamitos Community United, a coalition that formed in response to the council’s actions, held a press conference yesterday afternoon in support of SB 54 while announcing that Public Records Act requests have been filed to expose any links between OC’s domino effect and anti-immigrant hate groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
“My husband and I chose to live in the city of Los Alamitos for its family values and diversity in the school system,” said Dania Barye, an immigrant resident and coalition member, in a press statement. “We have always been treated fairly by our neighbors and grew to love our neighborhood. We had no idea of the hidden racism that underlies the politics of this anti-immigrant ordinance.”
Now let’s see who’s behind it.