California city seeks exemption from state's sanctuary law
California city seeks exemption from state's sanctuary law
21 March, 2018, 07:52
Los Alamitos City Council members voted 4 to 1 Monday to exempt the city from California's sanctuary state law, a move that will allow the city to work with federal authorities and coordinate with law enforcement when dealing with undocumented immigrants. The new state law is "absolutely consistent with the U.S. Constitution", she said.
Annie Lai, co-director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at UC Irvine, said Los Alamitos is inviting a lawsuit if the ordinance is adopted.
The ordinance would add language to the city's municipal code saying it "does hereby exempt the city of Los Alamitos from the California Values Act", and that the city will "instead will comply with the appropriate federal laws and the constitution of the United States". He said a city can adopt its own measures but should expect to defend them in court.
Another speaker who addressed the council in support of the ordinance made the more cogent argument that: "We have the law of the land, and that constitution says that the federal government is in charge of immigration law, not the state of California".
But the council voted 4-1 in favor of opting out.
The heated battle over immigration exploded in a small Southern California city as elected officials took steps to opt out of a state law limiting cooperation between police and federal deportation agents.
"They can't opt out of state law and automatically win", he said.
"This process is not logical for such a small city", she told the council. He arrived 27 years ago with a tourist visa and became a legal resident after marrying his US citizen wife.
"We started looking at the law in January and realizing that there's a conflict - a constitutional conflict that basically is asking us to follow the state law versus the U.S. Constitution, specifically the supremacy clause".
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.
"I've absolutely got a lot of interest from a lot of cities. I don't think that would be prudent", Chirco told the LA Times. "It doesn't say unless the state legislature decides otherwise", said Art DeBolt, a longtime community activist, via e-mail.
Some immigration enforcement hawks hope Los Alamitos will be a bellwether.
Though few cities have considered what Los Alamitos has done, there have been divisions over sanctuary laws.
Meanwhile, Elsa Aldeguer, a member of the organization Make California Great Again, said she feels she has to unfairly compete for jobs with undocumented immigrants. As Chirco suggests, California officials are free to disagree with federal immigration laws and policies; they are not free to defy them.
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