On October 5, 2017, California governor, Jerry Brown, signed a legislation that proclaims California would be known as a “Sanctuary State.” This bill states that undocumented or illegal immigrants would be safe from federal immigration policy as well as limiting who state, local and federal law enforcement agents can question, detain and transfer at the request of the federal government. This was, of course, in retaliation to President Trump’s immigration policy to build a wall along the southern border and remove all criminal illegal aliens from the country.
In response to California’s decision, Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, sued the golden state on March 7, 2018, claiming California’s decision to protect illegal immigrants was unconstitutional. To the surprise of many, Sessions was not alone in his criticism of Senate Bill 54 and California’s immigration policy. Three weeks later, on March 28, 2018, Orange County, the third largest county located in Southern California, joined the Attorney General in his lawsuit against the state with a 4-0 vote. Lisa Bartlett, a member on Orange County’s Board of Supervisors stated she voted to join the federal lawsuit in order for the county to have better control over “undocumented immigrants with criminal backgrounds.”
Orange County isn’t the only community in California that disagrees with its immigration policy. Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Huntington Beach, Escondido, Fountain Valley and Aliso Viejo all voted to join the federal lawsuit.
But what does this mean for us, the citizens of California? Unfortunately, whichever side you stand on, it’s ultimately a double edged sword. If California wins the lawsuit, its Sanctuary State policies will continue. If the federal government and various counties win the lawsuit, California will lose its controversial policies, but it may also have to pay a currently unknown sum which could result in higher taxes.
Personally, I believe we are a nation of immigrants, yes, but we are also a nation of laws that must be respected. If we are unclear on who is crossing our borders with unknown intentions, it only puts ordinary citizens at risk. It’s safe to say that I do not agree with California’s “sanctuary” policies, but given the information at hand, there must be a better way to oppose these unstable practices without resorting to further crippling American citizens. Perhaps a wise decision for California would be to deport illegal aliens with criminal records, but allow those with an otherwise clean background a potential path to citizenship. While not a perfect plan, at least this way, we can simultaneously enforce our laws, remove harmful individuals and further strengthen our American citizens along with our American identity.
Photo taken from Project Republic.