Los Alamitos Might Challenge California over State’s Sanctuary Law

Roxana Kopetman and Alicia Robinson, OC Register, March 16, 2018

Los Alamitos might try to opt out of California’s new sanctuary law.

The City Council in Orange County’s second-smallest city is scheduled to vote Monday, March 19 on an ordinance that calls for exempting itself from the California Values Act, SB54, a new law that limits cooperation between law enforcement and immigration authorities.

The state law, which took effect Jan. 1, “may be in direct conflict with federal laws and the Constitution of the United States,” reads the proposed local law.

Stating that council members have taken an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, the ordinance says the council “finds that it is impossible to honor our oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States” and at the same time be in compliance with the new state law.

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Annie Lai, co-director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at UC Irvine, said Los Alamitos is inviting a lawsuit if the ordinance is adopted.

“It looks like they’re setting themselves up for litigation,” she said.

Earlier this month, California’s law was legally challenged by the federal government. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions went to Sacramento to file a lawsuit against California, Gov. Jerry Brown and the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra.  The lawsuit is challenging three laws, including SB54, the so-called California sanctuary state known as the California Values Act, as unconstitutional.

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