The New York Times showed the city of Santa Ana some love last weekend with this Op-Ed praising city leaders for their backbone on Sanctuary City Status and standing up to the Trump Administration on its immigration executive orders.
From the story:
Cities of immigrants, it’s time. Time to declare yourselves sanctuaries. To wear the label proudly, defiantly, even if the White House and its allies threaten you and utter all kinds of falsehoods against you.
Many people are confused by the term “sanctuary city,” which has no strict definition. Mr. Trump uses it as an epithet to mean immigrant-loving communities that allow alien criminals to roam free. Used that way, the label is false; no city can suspend the rule of law or keep out the feds. But rather than tolerating such slander, cities should seize back the term, defining sanctuaries as places that stand for reason in the face of overreaching, unjust and often lawless federal enforcement.
They should do what Santa Ana, Calif., has done. It is a city of 335,000, in the heart of Orange County, whose City Council has passed one of the boldest and most far-reaching sanctuary ordinances in the state. In a county that has long been known as a haven of white Republicans, Santa Ana is a mixed-race, mixed-income, All-American town. Its population is about 46 percent immigrant, and its mayor and its six City Council members are all Latino.
When the Council gave final approval to its sanctuary ordinance in January, by a 6-to-0 vote, it was the culmination of months of persuasion by residents who feel the force of Mr. Trump’s anti-immigrant threats intimately. They argued that Latino and Asian families, including many unauthorized immigrants with citizen children, have fought for a foothold in this country and deserve to live in safety and peace. They pointed out that using the local police as immigration enforcers takes them away from their primary responsibility, the safety of the community. It wastes crime-fighting resources. It costs too much. And it’s constitutionally dubious for localities to detain people for no other reason than an administrative request from ICE.
The ordinance is duly respectful of the law, in a spirit that honors the Constitution and residents’ civil rights. It declares that none of its provisions are to conflict with “any valid and enforceable duty and obligation imposed by a court order or any federal or applicable law.” But it also makes clear that the city will not cooperate in any federal immigration dragnet. The feds may do what they will, but Santa Ana wants no part of it. It will not allow the use of city resources or personnel to assist in these efforts unless required by state or federal law. Nor will the city share “sensitive information,” protecting the privacy of its residents, whatever their immigration status.
Now the DPOC unanimously approved the draft resolution I began with taking babysteps and starting in Anaheim by going the full broad jump and calling on every elected official — from both parties — to protect immigrants in each city throughout the county from this cruel and mean-spirited executive order that separates families and punishes those who contribute positively to society in Orange County. This was the direction I ultimately wanted to go, and the party surpassed my expectations. I was pleased with the stronger resolution and the vote of the party to embrace my idea. A vote on this matter in most every city is almost certain to lose — but its a matter of losing a battle to win a war. Which party is standing up for immigrant families? Which party wants them deported? You might lose the vote in city council chambers, but you will affirm for immigrant residents who you fight for. That’s why I’m pleased the DPOC made it plain where the party stands.
Congressman Lou Correa has shown leadership on immigration and has already hosted several immigration town halls in CD-46 to help families understand their rights under the Trump executive orders. The bottom line is it will be messy and expensive if or when ICE detains someone. But immigrants are afraid to speak out, go to work, to church, to school and even to the store for fear of being detained by ICE.
While Santa Ana continues to lead and set an example, Anaheim is still toying with “Welcoming City” status largely because Mayor Tait simply won’t take a stand on an issue with the word “sanctuary” in it. Council member Lucille Kring has even called for an “up or down” vote on Sanctuary City Status for Anaheim. There are two Latinos and one Democrat on the city council so the measure is likely doomed for failure.
But in a city with more than 50% Latino residents, call the bluff. Let the council vote. A No vote makes pursuing a “Welcoming City” status more palatable, even though its weaker. And more importantly, Latino families see leadership on the issue, and not compromise.