California Localities Are Declaring Themselves “Sanctuary Cities.” What Could It Mean for You?

With each passing day, it seems another California city reacts to President Elect Donald Trump’s controversial call to end all so-called “sanctuary cities” in the U.S. But most of them aren’t reacting the way one might expect. Despite Trump’s threat to cut off federal funding for localities that limit cooperation on immigration matters, a number of cities are embracing the label, risks and all.

Last week, the City of La Puente in Los Angeles County adopted a resolution declaring itself a “sanctuary city.” And on Tuesday, Santa Ana, Orange County’s second largest city, made its previously declared sanctuary city status official in a 6-0 vote. According to the Orange County Register, Santa Ana’s new ordinance prohibits use of city resources for immigration enforcement, protects sensitive information for immigrants, prevents “biased-based policing,” and calls on law enforcement to exercise discretion in citing and releasing individuals instead of detaining them depending on the nature of the crime.

Palm Springs is embracing the sanctuary city label too—if it so applies.

 

The city council is asking the Palm Springs Police Department to publicly share what policies it follows when interacting with undocumented immigrants and cooperating with federal immigration agencies.

 

After a review of existing policies, city hall officials will decide if they need to pass sanctuary policies like those in cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Palm Springs Councilman Geoff Kors said the city is “not going to operate in fear and hiding during the next four years.”

California City News publisher Mike Madrid addressed the phenomenon last month.

Until now, the consequences of being a sanctuary city have been largely symbolic. That will likely soon change, once Donald Trump becomes president. Trump has promised to "end" sanctuary cities, removing any federal funding from their budgets. The president-elect believes sanctuary city policies protect violent criminals.

 

In fact, there may be real consequences for the residents in these cities. La Puente, for instance, is slated to receive some $2.3 million in federal funding this year through block grants for public safety, transportation and other services. That money could now be in jeopardy. But, says La Puente’s city manager, “the principle of treating people decently is more important than some fear of losing federal money.”

It’s possible many of these cities see the threats as pure bluster. And they could be right. As Orange County Taxpayers Association President Carolyn Cavecche says, it’s all speculation at this point.

Soon enough, the speculation will end. In about 24 hours, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. We’ll be watching.


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