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Orange County Joins Lawsuit Against California for Sanctuary Laws

29 March 2018

Leaders of Orange County, California yesterday voted to join a federal lawsuit against the state's sanctuary law as part of a growing backlash in some conservative parts of California to state laws that protect illegal immigrants from deportation.

Orange County, which is home to Disneyland and wealthy beach communities where many people vacation, has a five-member board of supervisors, and all are Republican.

California officials have responded that their sanctuary policies increase public safety by promoting trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement. Supervisor Michelle Steel, an immigrant from South Korea, told the crowd that fixing the country's immigration system will take time. Justice Anthony Kennedy said Arizona may have "understandable frustrations" with immigrants who are in the country illegally, but added that it can't pursue policies that "undermine federal law". Trump's justice department has since sued the state over its three laws - Senate Bill 54 or the "California Values Act", Assembly Bill 450 or the "Workplace Raid" law and Assembly Bill 103 or the "Detention Review" law - arguing that they are unconstitutional.

California's laws are created to interfere with or block federal immigration enforcement, but the state does not have that authority, the other states said in a court filing in the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit against California.

The move highlights longstanding divisions over immigration in California.

Authorities in Orange County, California, have started publishing the release dates for inmates from the county's jails to try to help federal agents locate immigrants subject to deportation.

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People opposing "sanctuary state" attend the Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting in Santa Ana on March 27, 2018.

Legal experts and immigrant advocates have said cities can't simply opt out of state law as Los Alamitos has proposed doing, and will face lawsuits if they try.

Orange County California is backing the Justice Department in its lawsuit against California. But the county went blue in the last presidential election for the first time in decades. Thirty percent of its residents are immigrants, mostly from Latin America and Asia, according to the US Census Bureau. But the goal is to assist agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. They felt the vote was a step back for a county that had been changing. "Will you be able to do the same?" But others welcomed the county's decision to file a motion to intervene as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, and railed about the need to stop illegal immigration. The supervisors adopted a resolution on a 4-0 vote condemning the state law after hearing from people on both sides of the issue. "We have to be compliant with the law that was passed, although we didn't agree with it ..."

Comparing the incident to an oft-used refrain by immigrant rights advocates who complain that deportations separate immigrant families, Robinson told the board: "Kate's family is forever separated from her". "The law, however, does not limit information that is available to the public".

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions is seeking to throw out this law".

"The Orange County Board of Supervisor does hereby reject the effort through state law to violate the Constitution of the United States and instead will comply with the appropriate Federal Laws and the Constitution of the United States and encourage all cities and agencies within the County of Orange to do the same", the resolution states.

Orange County Joins Lawsuit Against California for Sanctuary Laws