More O.C. cities, supervisors may be leaning against state ‘sanctuary’ laws

Spectators cheer the Los Alamitos City Council's vote to oppose California's "sanctuary" state law.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Los Alamitos was the first government agency in Orange County to fire a salvo against California’s so-called sanctuary laws, which aim to shield immigrants here illegally from deportation, but it might not be the last.

Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Allan Mansoor — who in 2010 spearheaded a City Council action to declare Costa Mesa a “rule-of-law city when it comes to support for upholding immigration laws” — said he’s open to looking at ways to work more closely with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“The resolution was a clear statement that we uphold our laws here and that we are not a sanctuary city,” Mansoor said Thursday, adding that he “would like ICE to come to Costa Mesa and simply do the job they are sworn to do.”


In Fountain Valley, Councilman Larry Crandall has asked city staff for information on how the state’s sanctuary laws could affect the city’s federal funding.

The Trump administration has threatened to withhold federal funds from states and cities that don’t cooperate with immigration officials, though a federal judge in November blocked the president’s executive order to deny funding.

Crandall said his inquiry wasn’t necessarily inspired by Los Alamitos’ action Monday, when it passed an ordinance that exempts the city from the state’s recently enacted Senate Bill 54, which restricts local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about and been contacted the last several weeks on,” Crandall said at Tuesday’s Fountain Valley council meeting.

And Huntington Beach Mayor Mike Posey said Thursday that he was inclined to oppose SB 54 but that the matter had not gone before the entire City Council. It could become a discussion item in coming weeks, he said.

Posey called the law “unconstitutional overreach” by Sacramento. “It’s another piece of legislation that seeks to usurp local control and inhibit law enforcement,” he said.


In August, before the Legislature passed SB 54, the Newport Beach council unanimously agreed to have the city manager send a letter of opposition.

Councilman Scott Peotter said at the time that “this is less an issue of what are we going to do about our borders and more of an issue of we need to make sure that crime is controlled, and the ability for our law enforcement to work together is going to be curtailed by this.”

Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson on Thursday endorsed joining existing federal litigation against California over the state laws, or filing a separate lawsuit.

Nelson’s suggestion goes beyond a call by Supervisor Michelle Steel to adopt a resolution against SB 54. Both items are on the supervisors’ Tuesday agenda.