LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – Take your unconstitutional law and shove it. While those are not the words used by the City of Los Alamitos, that is their intention.
The Southern California city rebelled Monday night. Their City Council voted to reject the state’s sanctuary law.
Los Alamitos Council members voted 4-1 to opt out of a state law that limits cooperation between local police and federal immigration agents.
The law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year and became effective on Jan. 1, includes prohibiting state and local police agencies from informing federal authorities in cases when illegal immigrants facing deportation are released from detention.
Los Alamitos’ adopted ordinance claims the new state law “may be in direct conflict with federal laws and the Constitution.” The council, therefore, “finds that it is impossible to honor our oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” if they do not opt out of it.
Mayor Pro Tem Warren Kusumoto said the state law conflicts with the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, the city is simply articulating that federal law wins.
“We are declaring sanctuary from the State of California sanctuary law, which is somewhat ironic,” he told Your World with Neil Cavuto. Moreover, they have received overwhelming public support regarding their ambition to abide by federal law.
Furthermore, the City is host to the Joint Forces Training Base – Los Alamitos, as well as several businesses with federal employees. As a result, they have military personnel and veterans scattered among their population, and the Orange County city does not want to burden them with obvious conflicts between the State of California and federal government, and to provide them whatever legal protection they can as a municipality.
“We are a patriotic, law abiding community,” Kusumoto continued. “And we are trying to do the best we can with circumstances that are beyond our control.”
Kusumoto acknowledged potential conflict with the State. “They might come down on us pretty hard,” he said. Moreover, the State could withhold locally generated tax money. If that occurs, the City will need to “reallocate resources,” he said.
Furthermore, Kusumoto said the ACLU has already sent a letter to the mayor and city manager, so he expects a battle with them as well.
Neil Cavuto Interview with Mayor Pro Tem Warren Kusumoto
About 160 people showed up to Monday’s regular City Council meeting, a monthly event that rarely draws enough people to fill the 40-seat chamber. Speakers lined up late into the evening to address elected officials, who eventually voted 4 to 1 to approve the ordinance.
“Sometimes things are bigger than we are,” said Mayor Troy D. Edgar.
Cheers erupted inside the chamber after the vote, with some shouting “Patriots!” and “This is a win for America!” as others waved pro-Trump flags.
The vote caused emotional reactions among those participating in the council meeting.
“They are asserting their right to ensure the constitutional remains the main law of the land,” Arthur Schaper, who supported the motion, told Fox Los Angeles.
Moti Cohen, an immigrant from Israel, said he came to the U.S. legally and that everyone should follow that path too. He became a legal resident after marrying his American wife.
“The law is the law and has to be enforced all over the country,” he told The Los Angeles Times. “The country is a law-and-order country and you have to come here legally.”
Others, upset that a council in California chose to decide whether to ignore state laws aimed at protecting illegal immigrants, showed up to protest the vote, which caused a temporary delay.
“What we don’t understand what we fear we kill. And that’s what we’re doing we’re killing the spirit of this nation which is American,” Joanne Abuqartoumy told the newspaper.
The only dissenting voice on the council, Mark Chirco, wrote on Facebook after the vote that “I could not see how the ordinance proposed tonight would benefit our city” and will instead “place our city in danger of a costly and uphill battle with the State of California.”
But many believe the example of the Los Alamitos Council may be a game-changer in California, where state officials have positioned themselves as against the immigration policies of the Trump administration.