More O.C. cities and county supervisors may be leaning against state’s ‘sanctuary’ laws
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 as mayor 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, or ICE.
“The resolution was a clear statement that we uphold our laws here and that we are not a sanctuary city,” Mansoor said Thursday.
Mansoor said he “would like ICE to come to Costa Mesa and simply do the job they are sworn to do.”
When an agent was stationed at the city jail, as was the case for a time, “we had up to 50 or so criminals per month flagged by ICE,” Mansoor said.
“I’m open to bringing another resolution forward, but it would be just that — a resolution,” he said. “Another option is clearly asking ICE to come over and for us to start cooperating with them, which, frankly, we should be doing.”
Fountain Valley Councilman Larry Crandall has asked city staff to give the council information on how the state’s sanctuary laws could affect Fountain Valley’s future federal funding.
The Trump administration has threatened to withhold federal funds from states and cities that don’t cooperate with federal 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 in passing 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, where he asked to discuss the funding ramifications at a future meeting. “They just happened to beat us to the punch.”
Huntington Beach Mayor Mike Posey said Thursday that he is inclined to oppose SB 54 but that the matter has 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.
Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Will O’Neill said Thursday that to his knowledge, Newport would not be taking a stance on the sanctuary issue. It is not on next week’s City Council agenda.
In August, before the Legislature passed SB 54, the Newport council unanimously agreed to have the city manager send a letter of opposition.
Councilman Scott Peotter, who asked for the letter, 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.”
The letter reads: “We have no intention or desire to become the primary enforcers of federal immigration law. Even under ongoing federal changes, we will do our best to keep doing what we do best — partnering with Newport Beach businesses, community members and visitors to ensure everyone is protected from crime. SB 54 may make it more difficult to work with our federal law enforcement partners in apprehending criminals. For this reason, our city respectfully opposes SB 54.”
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’ agenda Tuesday, though Nelson’s is set for a closed session.
“This legislation prevents law enforcement from removing criminals from our community and is a threat to public safety,” Nelson, whose district includes Fullerton, Anaheim, Buena Park, La Habra, Placentia and Brea, said in a statement.
Steel’s proposed resolution would “reject the effort through state law to violate the Constitution of the United States” and says the supervisors “instead will comply with the appropriate federal laws and the Constitution of the United States and encourage all cities and agencies within the county of Orange to do the same.”
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