The city of Beaumont on Tuesday could become the first Inland Empire municipality to oppose California’s so-called sanctuary state law, joining Orange County and a number of its cities in challenging the statute’s validity.
The council is set to debate a resolution that would assert Beaumont’s belief that Senate Bill 54, the “California Values Act,” is incompatible with federal law and, therefore, illegitimate.
At the council’s April 3 meeting, members of the Banning-Beaumont-Cherry Valley Tea Party spoke against SB 54 and presented a model ordinance for the council to consider. The submission underscores that the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, contained in Article Six, makes it unlawful for any state to ratify laws that undermine constitutional provisions.
San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors is slated to take up a similar resolution Tuesday. Orange County recently passed its own, with the supervisors voting to join a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit filed against California last month seeking to invalidate SB 54, which Attorney General Jeff Sessions compared to an act of “secession” from federal jurisdiction.
Cities that have passed resolutions backing the lawsuit include Aliso Viejo, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Orange and San Juan Capistrano.
Sen. Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, who authored SB 54, has been stumping against surging opposition to the bill, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Oct 5.
De Leon argued in literature attached to SB 54 that “65-75 percent of all deportations nationwide are the result of collaboration between law enforcement agencies and Immigration Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Protection,” and the practice must be stopped to prevent the “devastating impact deportations have” on undocumented immigrants and their families.
Most components of the legislation were opposed by the California State Sheriffs’ Association over concerns about the ability of law enforcement officers to apprehend criminal immigrant offenders and coordinate with federal agents to ensure they face prosecution.
SB 54 makes it illegal for county or municipal peace officers to do any of the following:
— ask about an arrestee’s immigration status;
— honor a federal immigration hold request or detainer, unless it’s specifically authorized by a judge;
— arrest a person based on a civil immigration warrant;
— notify federal authorities about the pending release of a jailed illegal immigrant, with a couple of exceptions based on criminal history;
— participate in task forces that target illegal immigrant offenders; and
— utilize immigration officers as interpreters during interactions with suspects.
SB 54 also mandates that schools, health facilities, libraries and courthouses serve as “safe zones,” where undocumented immigrants can come and go without risk of detention.
The legislation was an expansion of Assembly Bill 4, the so-called “Trust Act” of 2013, which prohibits honoring federal detainer requests, specifically for foreigners arrested or suspected of minor offenses.
The cities of Loma Linda, Redlands and Yucaipa may be considering anti-SB 54 resolutions of their own soon.
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