Escondido City Council positions itself with Trump on sanctuary laws

The Escondido City Council voted to support Trump’s suit against California State’s sanctuary laws on April 4.

The council voted 4-1 in support of filing a legal brief in support of the federal government against California challenging the passing of “sanctuary city” laws. The legal brief is not an attempt to sue the state, explained by City Attorney Michael McGuinness, the motion is only a filing in support of the Trump Administration who argues that California’s sanctuary laws violate federal law because they contend with federal immigration enforcement.

Escondido city residents attend the city council meeting in where they will decide to join in a legal brief in suport of the Trump adminstration against California’s sanctuary laws. Wednesday April 4. Cameron Niven / The Telescope

Escondido city residents attend the city council meeting in where they will decide to join in a legal brief in suport of the Trump adminstration against California’s sanctuary laws. Wednesday April 4. Cameron Niven / The Telescope

McGuinness also explained that this lawsuit is the reverse of the Obama administration’s lawsuit against the State of Arizona in 2010, where it ruled that no state “may enact or enforce laws which obstruct or conflict” with the U.S. authority to enforce federal immigration law. The Obama administration challenged Arizona’s law that required police to check immigration status of people in custody.

Despite the council’s almost unanimous vote; there was a sizable crowd of protesters opposing the city’s filing. The San Diego Border Dreamers were among those protesting the city’s position and claimed that it would hurt Escondido’s immigrant population.

There was also a strong presence of those who supported the filing. A few supporters intervened in the demonstration outside City Hall brandishing Trump and American flags yelling, “You must follow the law” through a megaphone.

This contention followed inside during the council meeting as more than 70 people on both sides raised their voices on this issue. Those who were not in favor claimed this issue was about compassion and would strain relations between the city, its law enforcement and the immigrant population.

A notable voice was 17 year-old Maria Martinez, an undocumented resident, who told the council that her father was deported in October of last year. “How shameful of you to think that tearing families apart will help the community,” Martinez said.

Escondido resident speaks in favor for the legal brief supporting the Trump adminstration’s lawsuit against California’s sanctuary laws. Wednesday April 4. Cameron Niven / The Telescope

Escondido resident speaks in favor for the legal brief supporting the Trump adminstration’s lawsuit against California’s sanctuary laws. Wednesday April 4. Cameron Niven / The Telescope

Many in the crowd who supported the motion said that this issue was not about race or xenophobia but of upholding the law, a position that was echoed by almost all of the council members.

Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, criticized Gov. Jerry Brown saying, “Your Sacramento is now politically, ethically, and morally corrupt,” and also said that he hopes to deliver on his yearlong promise to sue state over this sanctuary law.

Olga Diaz was the lone council member in opposition to this motion firing back to Abed that she finally understands that the reason for filing this brief was over political grandstanding.

After the brief passed and the crowd cheered, Diaz said that she was still inspired by those who supported her in the crowd and that “I am alone on the vote but I’m not alone in support.”

Escondido joins Orange County, Los Alamitos, Yorba Linda, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, and Aliso Viejo in their support of Trump’s side in the lawsuit, but it is the first city in San Diego County to join.

City Attorney McGuinness, said that the brief will be filed soon and there will be a closed door vote by San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors on April 17 whether or not to follow Escondido’s decision.

Author: Cameron Niven

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