At the next Democratic Party of Orange County meeting in about two weeks, I’ve put forth a resolution – my first as a member of the Central Committee – that was to address the need for making Anaheim a Sanctuary City. Sources tell me that the Resolutions Committee has actually expanded this idea to call on Democratic Party electeds to push for Sanctuary City status in every Orange County city which tells me the idea has merit.
Southern California, from Ventura County to San Diego, has the largest concentration of undocumented immigrants in the country (New York City and Newark, NJ came in first); there are about a million people here who are not citizens — most from Mexico. I initially started a push for Sanctuary City status in Anaheim after the rapid, brave and unanimous action by the Santa Ana City Council to defy President Trump.
Because every candidate endorsed by the DPOC in November’s election, as well as Democrats who ran without the party’s endorsement, ran with support for Sanctuary City status on their campaign platform and the city’s large immigrant population. It made sense. And it’s my first try at a resolution. My plan was to expand this to Fullerton, Orange and Garden Grove if the effort in Anaheim was successful and to continue adding cities. The first person I asked to sign was Benny Diaz and he couldn’t get his pen out fast enough. I had the required number of signatures in about 3 minutes.
Anaheim is OC’s largest city by population and has a significant number of immigrants in the community. District Three Councilmember Jose Moreno has already retreated from this campaign promise of Sanctuary City status and instead supports a Mayoral Task Force, led by Mayor Tom Tait who once pushed for a program that placed ICE officers in Anaheim jails, that will study the issue of making Anaheim a “Welcoming City” with meetings held first thing in the morning and not videostreamed on the Internet. It’s not clear if agendas or testimony from stakeholders would be available to the public who can’t make an 8:30 AM midweek meeting. It’s my contention that Moreno should put forth a motion to make Anaheim a Sanctuary City even if the Republican majority on the council votes it down.
And by strengthening my resolution, the Party’s resolution committee is saying all elected Democrats should do the same even if they lack the votes to pass the measure because it tells our immigrant communities which party stands with them and which party does not.
Immigration raids, like the ones the swept Southern California last week, are about to get worse. From Politico:
The expansive executive order signed last month by President Donald Trump allows a significantly broader population of immigrants to be picked up for deportation. And Trump has signaled he has every intention of using that authority to carry out his campaign pledge to deport millions of foreigners from the United States.
Immigration advocates say the stepped-up enforcement amounts to a new deportation dragnet that’s ensnaring otherwise law-abiding immigrants.
“In four weeks, we’ve seen three incredibly harsh executive orders targeting the immigrant community,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “This is what he campaigned on, and now the country has to deal with the consequences.”
Now Sanctuary City status isn’t a blanket protection. If federal immigration officials have a warrant, there’s little local police can do to protect a targeted individual from arrest. What sanctuary city status does do is place all of the burden on federal immigration enforcement officers for enforcing immigration laws without the help or support of local police authorizes. It’s a lot stronger brand than the “Welcoming City” status being sought in Anaheim now and a number of cities who are “Welcoming Cities” are also Sanctuary Cities.
Under Trump’s new orders, as many as 5 million immigrants could be targeted for deportation. From Mother Jones:
In the executive order he signed on January 25, Trump prioritized the removal of undocumented “criminal” immigrants. Specifically, his interior enforcement plans call for the removal of undocumented immigrants who have been charged or convicted, or have even just “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense,” which could include everything from entering the country illegally to getting paid to work or driving without a license. Such a broad definition of criminality—the order also tells immigration agents to focus on those who are a “risk to public safety or national security”—has advocates for day laborers more than a little concerned.
“What President Trump wants to do is increase that kind of enforcement and target—not just certain crimes, but anybody that has any kind of criminal past, any kind of ticket or infraction,” says Victor Narro, project director at the UCLA Labor Center. “That’s the danger” for day laborers.