Irvine Mayor Don Wagner, seeking to burnish his conservative credentials for a Board of Supervisors run after this November’s elections, agendized a discussion on SB54 for the City Council discussion but pulled it just before the meeting. And that didn’t stop a boatload of Irvine’s diverse residents from coming out to speak about the stupidity of Wagner’s move and to perhaps educate the mayor on what SB54 is really all about.
Former city council member and Mayor Beth Krom summarized the tone of the meeting well and offered her remarks offered last night on social media. Here’s what she said:
Last night I returned to the Irvine City Council Chambers for the first time since I stepped down in 2016. Mayor Wagner had agendized opposition to SB 54 (The California Values Act/ Sanctuary State Bill), using language in his memo that could easily have been written by Steve Bannon or Stephen Smith. It was offensive and it was designed to drive anti-immigrant fear in this city of extraordinary diversity.
Prior to the start of the meeting, Mayor Wagner pulled the item, meaning it wouldn’t be heard or acted on. My guess is the racists who get bussed in to serve as the vocal agitators for things like this were not available, or perhaps Mayor Wagner is looking forward to christening the new and improved City Council Chambers (now under construction — we were in a temporary space) to roll out his divisive and incendiary proposal.
The couple dozen of us who were there spoke under general public comment. It was inspiring. All ages, but the young people were particularly impressive. Eloquence and passion in the face of ignorance, ugliness and fear-mongering.
Here are my remarks:
Thank you, Mayor Wagner. I’m here to speak in opposition to your resolution opposing SB 54.
You have chosen to jump on the bandwagon of race-baiting, fear- mongering and hyper-partisan politics rooted in the same ugliness that is threatening to divide us as a nation.
Let’s be clear:
SB 54 does not require you, or any member of this City Council, to violate your oath of office, and nothing about SB 54 protects violent criminals — including undocumented aliens — from being subject to the law.
Furthermore the constitutionality of SB 54 has been affirmed by the courts.
And this is not about making Irvine safer. Quite to the contrary. Trust between local law enforcement and families of diversity and color living and working in Irvine and communities throughout California needs to be strengthened, not undermined by hateful rhetoric directed towards our immigrant families in order to promote fear and anxiety.
Passage of SB 54 put California on the right side of history and given our profile, Irvine should be a leader, not a follower, when it comes to ensuring that our Police Department can continue to work…as their motto proudly proclaims…in partnership with the community.
Everyone agrees we need to have real and difficult conversations about how we will secure our borders, overhaul our immigration courts, and determine who can seek asylum and citizenship in our country.
But immigration and immigration enforcement is the jurisdiction of the Federal Government as set forth in Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 of the Constitution.
SB 54 simply affirms the Constitutional mandate that local law enforcement does not have the authority to enforce immigration law and should not be conscripted by the Federal Government to do their work for them.
So let’s be clear: Nothing in SB 54 precludes the Federal Government from carrying out their responsibilities or the Irvine Police Department from carrying out theirs.
Furthermore, SB 54 permits police and sheriffs to share information and transfer people to immigration authorities if they have been convicted of one or more crimes from a list of 800 crimes codified in the California Trust Act.
Fingerprint data from arrestees will continue to be shared with the FBI, which then gives the fingerprints to ICE.
Public safety officials will continue to notify the FBI before releasing someone jailed for a misdemeanor who has previously been convicted of a violent felony.
And SB 54 requires prison officials to notify the FBI before freeing
a violent felon.
If you are worried about protecting Irvine tax dollars, you should not be asking our local police to act as Federal Immigration officers.
The truth is: SB 54 does not hinder local law enforcement from doing their jobs. It simply protects California cities from being required to do the federal governments job, and depleting our own local resources in the process.
Our police have done a great job of keeping Irvine residents and businesses safe. Let’s not burden them with responsibilities that are mandated BY OUR CONSTITUTION to the federal government, and in the process undermine their ability to truly work “in partnership with the community.”
I’ll add that Mayor Wagner likes to talk about what a strong Christian he is all while supporting political policies that would likely cause Jesus pause. This link offers some Biblical passages that reference immigrants while several which can easily apply to the homeless. If Mayor Wagner wants to use Christian faith as a political talking point, it’s time he walk the walk too.