County supervisors consider joining Trump’s sanctuary state lawsuit

SAN DIEGO -- Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher blasted the county supervisors on Thursday for considering joining the Trump administration's lawsuit against California's so-called sanctuary state laws.

San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Kristin Gaspar scheduled a closed-door board meeting for April 17 with the county attorney to discuss that lawsuit as well as the one filed by state officials this week against the Trump administration over a Census question about citizenship status, Voice of San Diego reported Wednesday.

The scheduled meeting comes after Orange County supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to join the Trump administration's lawsuit against the sanctuary state law, which limits cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials.

Gonzalez Fletcher said Thursday it's "unbelievable" the all- Republican San Diego board would consider following in the footsteps of the Orange County leaders given the San Diego region's large immigrant population.

"These laws keep immigrant communities safe by ensuring that people who witness crimes -- or who themselves are crime victims -- can call local police without fear of (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents raiding their homes or deporting their loved ones," the Democratic assemblywoman said. "As the supervisors should be aware, people who commit a serious or violent offense are not shielded or protected in any way by these new laws. I seriously hope the Board of Supervisors has the wisdom and basic decency to avoid linking arms with Trump and his fear-mongering agenda."

Sheriff Bill Gore is "staying neutral" on whether the supervisors should join the lawsuit, spokeswoman Lt. Karen Stubkjaer said.

"The Sheriff's Department has and will continue to comply with the Trust, Truth and California Values Acts," Gore said, referring to the so- called sanctuary state law. "My deputies work hard to make our communities safer and we want to ensure all of our residents feel safe reporting crimes or coming forward as witnesses to criminal acts. I have confidence in the justice system and will abide by the ruling when one is reached. It would be inappropriate for me to comment further on a federal lawsuit against the state of California."

Gaspar, through a spokeswoman, declined to indicate where she stands on either lawsuit.

Supervisor Greg Cox said he agreed with Gore's take.

"On the subject of SB54, I agree with our sheriff. Our sheriff's deputies are not and should not be forced to carry out immigration duties," Cox said, referring to the law prohibiting data sharing with federal immigration authorities. "The problem lies not in Sacramento, but in D.C. where Congress and the administration have failed to fix a flawed immigration system."

In regard to the Census question, Cox said: "I think it is important that we get the most accurate count possible as census data is what drives how federal dollars are distributed and how congressional seats are apportioned, amongst other critical decisions."

Supervisor Dianne Jacob was clear in her support of following Orange County's footsteps.

"I've always supported the great working relationship between the Sheriff's Department and federal law enforcement agencies, and it needs to continue," Jacob told Voice of San Diego. "I support the county joining the (sanctuary) lawsuit and look forward to this being on the next closed session agenda."