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County Votes to Support Trump Administration’s Lawsuit Against California

April 19, 2018

Local Organizations Criticize Decision, While Others View it as a Community Safety Victory

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

On Tuesday, April 17, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors announced a vote of 3-1 to support the Trump’s Administration’s lawsuit against three California laws, sparking different reactions from organizations for and against the decision.

Supervisors Kristin Gaspar, Bill Horn and Dianne Jacobs voted to support the lawsuit, Supervisor Greg Cox voted against and Supervisor Ron Roberts did not attend the meeting.

As a result of the decision, the County of San Diego will file an amicus brief if the case moves on appeal to a higher court as a result of missing the deadline to file such a brief.

In March, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against California’s so-called sanctuary laws on the basis that they are unconstitutional.

The three laws in the lawsuit include: SB 54 or the California Values Act; AB 450, or the Immigrant Worker Protection Act; and AB 103 Dignity not Detention Act.

Days and even hours before the Board of Supervisors decided on supporting the lawsuit against California, local organizations on both sides attempted to mobilize San Diego residents to have their “voices heard.”

Organizations Supporting California

Prior to the decision, immigration advocacy organizations rallied to demand that the Board of Supervisors remove the item for the agenda all together, stating that the lawsuit goes against California vales and would push the region’s immigrant community back into the shadows.

According to immigration advocates, without SB 54, immigrant communities would be less likely to report crimes for fear of deportation.

Organizations gathered Tuesday morning in front of the San Diego County Administration Center building to demand that the Board of Supervisors vote no on the proposal.

Katia Ortiz, with the San Diego Organizing Project and a DACA recipient, said that families are being separated, targeted, and it is wrong that the board is supporting the lawsuit.

“They were elected to represent us not neglect us,” Ortiz said

Following the County’s decision to vote to support the lawsuit, several organizations and San Diego leaders released statements expressing their disapproval and criticism of the Board of Supervisors.

“Today’s harmful decision during a closed session shows that our Board of Supervisors is out of touch with the citizens of san Diego County,” San Diego Organizing Project Board Member Gloria Morales-Palos said in a statement. “SB 54 is a crucial bill to protect all San Diego residents, both immigrants and citizens of all cultural backgrounds, from unwarranted interrogations, detainments and deportations.”

Other local leaders took to social media to express their discontent with the decision.

“Board of Supervisors vote today is especially infuriating while 90 of us (Democrats and Republicans) are in Mexico working on binational relations. Talk about sending the wrong message,” San Diego District 8 City Councilmember David Alvarez wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties called on the Board of Supervisors to rescind their decision to “side with the Trump administration” in the lawsuit.

Organizations and Local Leaders Supporting Lawsuit

In opposition, local leaders like Mayor of Escondido Sam Abed and Mayor of San Marcos Jim Desmond, along with others, encouraged the board to join the lawsuit to challenge laws that “protect criminals from deportation.”

On Friday, April 13, several local leaders held a press conference to explain that their interest in encouraging the Board of Supervisors to support the lawsuit against California.

Speakers shared that the so-called sanctuary laws actually make communities less safe by making it more difficult for ICE to deport undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes.

“This is about law enforcement and keeping our neighborhoods and law abiding citizens safe,” Desmond said.

Abed said SB 54 is actually separating families because of the lack of collaboration with ICE and local enforcement authorities, ICE is forced to deport non criminal immigrants.

The City of Escondido voted 4-1 on Wednesday to file a legal brief in support of the lawsuit.

Speakers expressed that their concerns were for the safety of San Diego resident, including the immigrant community, and that their interest in joining the lawsuit was to support the administration and allowing local law enforcement agencies to work with ICE.

Following the decision, Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California released a statement calling the vote a victory.

“We mobilized thousands of voters to contact them and urge them to take this step and it worked,” his statement read.

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