Escondido votes to join Trump sanctuary lawsuit - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Escondido votes to join Trump sanctuary lawsuit

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ESCONDIDO (NEWS 8) - The Escondido City Council on Wednesday night voted 4 to 1 to become the first city in San Diego to support the Trump administration's lawsuit against California's so-called sanctuary laws.

The council voted to file a legal brief in support of the lawsuit, which challenges the legality of three state laws enacted last year. Among them is a statute that limits cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities, which U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says is unconstitutional and compromises public safety.

The matter was put on the council agenda by Mayor Sam Abed and Councilman John Masson, but before the vote, activists rallied outside city hall denouncing what they said is Escondido's hostility toward immigrants. 

"I expect it to pass," Abed told the San Diego Union-Tribune ahead of the vote.

Escondido will now file an amicus brief in the suit, which allows a party to issue an opinion on a court case without being directly involved in the lawsuit.

The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties issued the following statement:

“The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties strongly opposes the City of Escondido’s proposal to file an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit filed by the Trump Administration against the State of California that seeks to invalidate a set of bills that defend against government overreach and protect immigrant families. One of these bills is the landmark California Values Act (SB 54).

“Escondido’s proposal is an offensive endorsement of the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant agenda. In its staff report, Escondido claims the city has ‘legitimate concerns about the lawfulness of the challenged state laws.’

“Nothing could be further from the truth. As a state, California has authority under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to allocate limited state resources to priorities that ensure the health and safety of its residents and communities. The California Values Act represents that constitutional exercise of state authority by strengthening the trust between California’s immigrant communities and state and local agencies. It also protects the safety and well-being of all Californians by ensuring that state and local resources are not used to enforce federal immigration laws that fuel mass deportations, separate families and spread fear through immigrant communities.

“Supporters of this measure before the City Council may claim that this action is a matter of ‘community safety.’ But the city’s anti-immigrant history – including the approval of an unconstitutional ordinance prohibiting landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants and rejecting a home for children fleeing violence and persecution – makes it evident that its motives lie elsewhere.

“Too often, the Escondido City Council has unjustly blamed the city’s problems, such as traffic, parking and housing, on immigrants. Perhaps, the real problem in Escondido’s City Council is xenophobia. And that is not a California value.”

Escondido will become the first local government in San Diego County to sound off on the case. Orange County has led the way in opposition against the sanctuary policies, though tactics have varied between governments.

The Mission Viejo City Council voted to file an amicus brief last month, and the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to join the administration's lawsuit.

The Huntington Beach council on Monday voted to become a part of the courtroom fight against the laws and the council in Los Alamitos recently voted to "exempt" itself from the policies.

The San Diego Board of Supervisors on April 17 plan to discuss the case. Supervisor Dianne Jacob said she expects the board to vote at least 3-2 to join the lawsuit.

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