Huntington Beach must follow ‘sanctuary state’ law, court rules

Demonstrators protest California's “sanctuary state” law during a Huntington Beach City Council meeting in April 2018.
(Kevin Chang / Times Community News)

A California law limiting local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities does not infringe on charter cities’ right to run their own police forces, a state appeals court ruled Friday.

The opinion from the California 4th District Court of Appeal overturned a 2018 ruling by the Superior Court of Orange County that prohibited Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra from enforcing the so-called sanctuary state law against the city of Huntington Beach.

Huntington Beach is one of 121 California charter cities, which are governed by charters adopted by local voters. The city had challenged the law, also known as the California Values Act, arguing that it violated a section of the state Constitution that gives charter cities “supreme authority” over municipal affairs.


But the state appealed, arguing that the law related to a matter of statewide concern.

“Today’s decision is a resounding victory for sanctuary in California,” Jessica Bansal, senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, said Friday in a statement. “The appellate court decision affirms that all Californians — including the millions living in charter cities — are entitled to the California Values Act’s protections.”

The California Values Act, which was signed into law in 2017, prevents law enforcement officers in many cases from holding and questioning people at the request of federal immigration agents, and limits them from sharing the release dates of some county jail inmates who are in the country illegally.