California city votes to opt out of sanctuary law


California is the only state in the nation that has established protections from deportation for undocumented immigrants, calling itself a sanctuary state, and with Monday's vote, Los Alamitos is now the only city in California to work outside the state law.

The Los Alamitos City Council voted 4-1 Monday night to approve the ordinance. On Monday, the group sent a letter to the City Council expressing "strong opposition" to the possible ordinance and it plans to hold an event outside of City Council at the time of the meeting."This is a call to action to stand up for our immigrant communities and let the city council these attacks are not welcome anymore!" said a Facebook page for the event.

The council must vote again next month to finalize the opt-out.

Los Alamitos also filed an amicus brief to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session's lawsuit against the state and its sanctuary laws.

Los Alamitos approved the ordinance that exempts the municipality of 12,000 from Senate Bill 54, a law that took effect January 1 that restricts local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities, the LA Times reported.

One of those laws was the same one the Los Alamitos council looks to opt-out of: the "California Values Act", which limits cooperation between law enforcement agencies and federal immigration authorities.

Homeland Security officials, though, say they're being forced to release drunk drivers back onto the streets because local authorities won't respond to pick them up.

Another speaker who addressed the council in support of the ordinance made the more cogent argument that: "We have the law of the land, and that constitution says that the federal government is in charge of immigration law, not the state of California".

Los Alamitos is a community of less than 12,000 people, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of downtown Los Angeles. However, after carefully weighing both sides of a very complicated and emotional issue, I could not see how the ordinance proposed tonight would benefit our city. I often have disagreements with the laws that are passed in Sacramento. Rather, the ordinance will place our city in danger of a costly and uphill battle with the State of California. "I am certain we would be facing litigation by the end of the week", Chirco said.

Since then, however, much of the county's fervent immigration enforcement bent has melted away after many of its cities experienced an influx of Latino and Asian immigrants.

Mary Hanes, a 61-year-old retail clerk having lunch at Katella Bakery & Deli, said the city is being "bullied to get with the program".

"Our immigrants should not have to live in fear", she said. "I totally support this, 110%".

"Why step over the lines of state government to make more trouble when California already has so much to deal with?"