Orange County's second smallest city approved an ordinance to opt out of the California Values Act, or the so-called Sanctuary State law, which limits local police cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
The Los Alamitos action also directed the city attorney to write an amicus brief in support of the March 7 preemption lawsuit filed against California by the Justice Department. Rather, the ordinance will place our city in danger of a costly and uphill battle with the State of California. He said a city can adopt its own measures but should expect to defend them in court.
"California legislators are bullying local elected officials into violating our oath of office", charged Councilman Warren Kusumoto, the lawmaker who spearheaded the legislation.
The proposed ordinance might be the first local attempt in California to officially challenge the law, said Kathleen Kim, a Loyola Marymount University law professor who specializes in immigrants' rights and human trafficking.
The city council must vote again next month to formally pass the ordinance.
Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar said as far as he knows, Los Alamitos is the first city in California to consider such an ordinance, though he said others have passed non-binding resolutions stating their positions against the state law. The president slammed San Francisco over its sanctuary law, which he said had allowed a Mexican national who fatally shot a tourist to remain on the streets. However, after carefully weighing both sides of a very complicated and emotional issue, I could not see how the ordinance proposed tonight would benefit our city. "I think from an immigration standpoint, we just think that's a job for the USA government".
But Los Alamitos is surrounded by larger and more diverse communities that are home to more immigrants, and visitors are drawn to the area by a nearby horse racetrack. As Chirco suggests, California officials are free to disagree with federal immigration laws and policies; they are not free to defy them. "I think we should support immigrants as much as possible in California", Amanda Johns said.
"I've absolutely got a lot of interest from a lot of cities".
Some immigration enforcement supporters hope that Los Alamitos is the beginning of a trend.
Rev. Melinda Dodge, of Los Altos United Methodist Church in neighboring Long Beach, said the proposal goes against everything the community believes in and values.
Stephanie Tellez, a teacher and longtime resident, said she does not want the children of immigrants in her city to live in fear of their parents being deported and does not want her tax dollars spent on costly litigation.