Newport Beach and Orange Oppose Sanctuary Law

Orange City Council voted 3-2 in support of the federal lawsuit against SB54. /Jessmarie Flores / el Don

Orange and Newport Beach city councils voted yesterday in support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against the ‘sanctuary state’ law.

In a closed session Tuesday night, Newport Beach City Council voted unanimously to support the federal lawsuit. Orange city officials also voted 3-2 to oppose laws protecting undocumented immigrants in public schools and limiting cooperation between federal and state law authorities.

Newport Beach and Orange join other Orange County cities, including Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos and Huntington Beach, in publically supporting the lawsuit.

“When I first found out a couple weeks ago that Los Alamitos have approved it, I was livid. I was driving, and I heard on the radio,” said Santa Ana College social intern Kevin Nguyen.

Lawsuit supporters argue the law prevents local law enforcement from notifying federal authorities about violent criminals who may be undocumented immigrants; however, opposers argue this is not the case.

While surrounding Orange County cities formally oppose the law, Santa Ana continues to defend its sanctuary city status. Santa Ana first declared itself a sanctuary city late Dec. 2016, after a unanimous vote moved to pass a sanctuary ordinance that requires the city to protect sensitive information and avoid using city resources to enforce immigration enforcement.

Although Orange City officials agree to support the federal lawsuit, Santiago Canyon College, a Rancho Santiago Community College District campus located in Orange, will continue to be a sanctuary campus.

RSCCD Board of Trustees member Zeke Hernandez said both SCC and SAC will continue to defend its undocumented students, encouraging students to express their feelings and concerns with student clubs, school officials and the board.

“Our campuses will stay [sanctuary campuses]. Our campuses are there to protect our students. The college presidents will do what they can to minimize fears,” Hernandez said.

The district board released a resolution March last year defending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, after the Trump administration rescinded the program. The official resolution states the district will not allow federal immigration officials on campus, share student records containing immigration status or enforce immigration laws or assist deportation.

The official statement includes: “our campuses remain open, safe and welcoming to students of all backgrounds who meet the minimum requirements of admission, regardless of immigration status…”

Westminster City Council is expected to discuss whether they oppose the state law today.

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