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Mistaken ruling on CA “sanctuary” law only applies to one city

Community groups confident SB 54 will be entirely upheld; Local governments must stand up to hate-filled agenda

2018.10.17- A state Superior Court judge based in Orange County has issued a written ruling clarifying an earlier oral decision in a lawsuit filed by Huntington Beach against California’s “Sanctuary State” law, SB 54. While the judge erroneously found SB 54 does not apply to Huntington Beach due to its status as a “charter” city, the written decision makes clear that the ruling only applies to Huntington Beach and does not affect the other 120 charter cities in California, all of which must continue to follow SB 54. The mistaken ruling also has no effect on California’s state agencies, 58 counties, or over 350 non-charter cities. (Charter cities have greater autonomy on municipal issues, but must follow state laws on issues of ‘statewide concern.’)

Currently, a technical modification clarifying that the order involves the Attorney General’s office only, not the state as a whole, is pending. Once the slightly revised order is issued, the state will be able to appeal.

In response to the ruling, the ICE Out of CA Steering Committee, including Asian Americans Advancing Justice- California, ACLU Foundations of California, California Immigrant Policy Center, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and PICO California, issued the following statement. The coalition has played a lead role in efforts to pass and implement the “Sanctuary State” law.

We remain confident that ultimately, the California Values Act will not only be upheld by the courts, but expanded by community advocacy.

This ruling, while incorrect, is much more narrow than some anti-immigrant cities had claimed. Let this be a cautionary tale for those cities that would align with an agenda that is both hate-filled and deceitful.

In the end, compassion, equality, and common humanity will prevail over cynical attempts to divide communities against one another. Both this illogical ruling, and the xenophobic agenda that sparked it, will end up in the waste bin of history.

Background: SB 54 (de León), also known as the “Sanctuary State” law or the California Values Act, sets a minimum standard across the state to limit local law enforcement from acting as deportation agents. A recent study from the Migration Policy Institute found that “sanctuary” policies like SB 54 have successfully reduced deportations. While an organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center has been attempting to orchestrate opposition to SB 54 in certain conservative areas of the state, recent polling has found a solid majority of voters support the “Sanctuary State” law. The Trump administration’s attacks on “sanctuary” jurisdictions have met a series of defeats in federal court.