Los Alamitos wants nothing to do with California's so-called sanctuary status and now they've codified it in a vote.
After two hours of heated debate on Monday night, the Los Alamitos City Council voted 4-1 to exempt the city from the law that limits cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.
Crowds on both sides of the issue chanted outside the chamber when the vote came, with some people erupting in cheers after the vote was announced, while others on the pro-immigrant rights side chanted "The people united, will never be divided."
SB 54, the law passed by California's legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last September, prevented state and local authorities from assisting federal immigration agents and informing them in cases when illegal immigrants who faced deportation were released from jail.
Los Alamitos' new ordinance says the state overstepped with the new law and that it "may be in direct conflict with federal laws and the Constitution." The council said they found that "it is impossible to honor our oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Councilman Warren Kusumoto, who introduced the legislation, said the issue was not about immigration.
"This council is looking out for the constituents in our city," he said.
The mayor of Los Alamitos said he hoped mayors in other California cities would consider similar legislation.
The council also voted to ask the city's attorney to write an amicus brief to a federal lawsuit that was filed by the Justice Department against California last month that alleged three of the state's laws are unconstitutional. One of those laws is the same one the Los Alamitos City Council wants to opt-out of.
Opponents to the ordinance say the vote was disappointing.
``There's been a real shift to a national, xenophobic acceptability in our society that is heartbreaking,'' Rabbi Jonathan Klein, executive director of the Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice group, told the Orange County Register. ``We're in an era of open bigotry.''
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