March 20 (UPI) — A small California town voted Monday to opt-out of the state’s so-called “sanctuary” law, which is aimed at protecting undocumented immigrants from detention by the federal government.
The city council for Los Alamitos, a Southern California town of about 11,200 people located 20 miles south of Los Angeles, voted 4 to 1 to be exempt from SB-54, which prohibits local law enforcement from reporting undocumented immigrants arrested for minor crimes to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The four members of the city council voting in favor of the measure said SB-54 puts Los Alamitos at odds with the U.S. Constitution, the Orange County Register reported.
“This council is looking out for the constituents in our city,” said councilman Warren Kusumoto, who introduced the legislation.
Councilman Mark Chirco voted against the measure because of the possibility of a lawsuit from the state.
“We disagree with Sacramento on a lot of things,” he said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Are we not going to follow state law every time we disagree with them? I don’t think that would be prudent.”
But the City of Los Alamitos will get involved in a lawsuit against the state.
In a separate measure, the city council voted for the city attorney to file an amicus brief to the federal government’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s sanctuary laws.
The vote on Monday brought emotional responses from Los Alamitos residents on both sides of the issue.
Some praised Kusumoto as a “patriot” while others vowed to vote out councilmembers who were in favor of the anti-sanctuary measures, according to the Register.
On the city’s Facebook page, several people slammed the city and threatened to boycott it while others praised the measure.
“As a Long Beach resident and neighbor I often shop and dine in Los Alamitos,” wrote Steve Boyer. “Not any longer. What a pointless and hateful gesture you just made – it will only serve to drive customers away from your town hurting your own businesses and tax base and invite legal challenge.”
“As a Southern California resident, legal immigrant and U.S. citizen I applaud you and your citizens,” wrote Chris Anderson. “It shows that there are Californians and cities which stand on the side of law and wont be intimidated by government officals on state level and other cities’ unlawfulness behavior and demands.”