Orange County Supervisors Vote to Fight California's New Sanctuary Law

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Legal experts and immigrant advocates have said cities can't simply opt out of state law and will face lawsuits if they try.

The Department of Justice is applauding the move by Orange County just weeks after Attorney General Jeff Sessions travelled to the state to announce the lawsuit.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department sought to sidestep a California law created to limit law enforcement coordination with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, saying it would put the date an inmate will be released on its website. Following the Trump Administration's suit over the law, Orange County agencies have begun taking various measures opposing SB 54 as well.

While Republicans still outnumber Democrats in the county, Democrats have gained significant ground in recent years, and Hillary Clinton won more votes than Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

The move comes as California battles the federal government over how local authorities cooperate with federal immigration agencies.

In Orange County, leaders of the small city of Los Alamitos recently voted for an ordinance to exempt itself from the state's law while leaders in the county seat of Santa Ana - a self-declared immigrant sanctuary - will consider filing an amicus brief to support California in federal court. That fight will play out in the courts, he said, though he added that the outcome should be clear.

De Leon said the "efforts to portray hardworking immigrants as criminals are a repulsive, black stain on California's history".




Authorities in Orange County, California, have started publishing the release dates for inmates from the county's jails to try to help federal agents locate immigrants subject to deportation. Immigrant advocates rallied outside Tuesday's meeting, some holding signs with slogans such as "Melt ICE", a reference to Immigration and Customs Enforcement that enforces immigration laws. "As supervisors of this county, we all took oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and bear true faith and allegiance to it against all enemies", Steel said.

California's laws are created to interfere with or block federal immigration enforcement, but the state does not have that authority, the other states said in a court filing in the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit against California. The supervisors adopted a resolution on a 4-0 vote condemning the state law after hearing from people on both sides of the issue. "Will you be able to do that?" And the state's law sends mixed messages to law enforcement, he argued. "It just doesn't make sense", Doris Matyasovich told the board.

In another contentious matter at Tuesday's meeting, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to rescind a plan for potentially opening homeless shelters in Irvine, Huntington Beach and Laguna Niguel that could house up to 400 people.

A sheriff's office plans to provide public information on when inmates are released from jail in hopes to skirt assistance restrictions to federal immigration officials.

The Arizona law required police, while enforcing other laws, to question the immigration status of people suspected of being in the country illegally, made it a crime to harbor immigrants here illegally, and banned them from seeking work in public places.

"The notion that the California legislature is looking to punish our local law enforcement is nonsense", he said.

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