Santa Ana Declares Itself a Sanctuary City

The City of Santa Ana is defying the recent election of immigration stalwart Donald Trump and voicing its solidarity with undocumented immigrants by formally declaring itself a sanctuary city. Tuesday’s vote by the City Council makes Santa Ana the first in Orange County to give itself such a designation.

The move is largely symbolic. This is a nonbinding resolution that entails no policy changes, though it could eventually be adopted as a city ordinance. But the council felt it was still significant, especially in light of Donald Trump’s threat to cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities.

“The day after Donald Trump got elected, our kids were falling apart emotionally. They thought their parents would be deported,” said City Council member and teacher Sal Tinajero. “The reason you’re seeing this push now is that us leaders ... want to tell them they are going to be protected. If they are going to come for them, they have to come through us first.”

Robin Hvidston, who heads a group that opposes illegal immigration, said Santa Ana's resolution “invites federal lawbreakers worldwide to settle in Santa Ana.”

In addition to the resolution, the council voted to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials that the city plans to reduce the number of available jail beds for immigration detainees from 200 to no more than 128 as part of a plan to phase out an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Santa Ana is the second-most populous city in Orange County. Is it also home to one of the nation’s largest Latino enclaves, with Latinos making up around 78 percent of city residents.