On Sept. 27, a California judge ruled that the state’s controversial “sanctuary state” law is unconstitutional and that the city of Huntington Beach can immediately begin to ignore it.
The ruling by Orange County Superior Court Judge James Crandall is a response to a lawsuit filed by the city challenging the constitutionality of California Values Act (SB54), which prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement officials.
In its filing, the city asserted, in part, that the controversial law unconstitutionally mandates the use its funds and personnel to create “safe zones” for illegal immigrants.
Judge Crandall expressed some agreement with the city’s argument, saying “Laws are protections for the little guy, in this case, the city.”
While recognizing California’s constitution permits cities to gain some autonomy by voting to become “charters,” California’s Supervising Deputy Attorney General Jonathan Eisenberg argued that the constitution does not afford them “a get out of jail free card,” nor exempt them from all state laws, reported the Orange County Register.
Voters have opted in 121California cities to designate themselves as charter cities.
The road to victory for Huntington Beach began in April when the city council voted to fight back against the state’s attempt to compel all localities to protect illegal aliens by going to court.
The ruling likely is just the first step in a longer legal process that could lead to the state Supreme Court, but it is an important one as states and localities have followed the lead of the Trump administration by standing up to those forces preventing immigration enforcement.
In January 2017, there were 36 cities with 287(g) agreements, which allow state and local law enforcement agencies to form a partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Today, ICE has 287(g) agreements with 78 law enforcement agencies in 20 states and the agency has trained and certified more than 1,514 state and local officers to enforce immigration law.
We can be glad this battle was won, but cannot forget the war that wages on.