Immigrant advocates want county to ‘say no’ to Trump sanctuary suit

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium Monday kicked off a week of action aimed at dissuading county supervisors from joining the Trump administration’s lawsuit against California’s so-called sanctuary laws.

The consortium this week plans to meet with members of the Board of Supervisors, call residents, campaign via social media and continue an online petition effort ahead of the supervisors’ April 17 meeting, when the board and county attorney are scheduled to discuss the lawsuit.

“This lawsuit against California is an affront to our state’s efforts to strengthen public safety for all while protecting families from the president’s abusive and overreaching deportation force,” said Lilian Serrano, chair of the Immigrant Rights Consortium. “We are mobilizing communities across the region to urge county supervisors to side with California, not Trump, and reject joining this misguided lawsuit.”

A petition started by the consortium last week has attracted more than 400 signatures.

At least one supervisor appears to have made up her mind about the case. Supervisor Dianne Jacob has publicly rallied against the state laws and says she agrees with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the laws are unconstitutional and undermine public safety.

Chairwoman Kristin Gaspar, on the other hand, has been more restrained in her statements on the issue. But on one of several recent Fox News appearances, Gaspar indicated she not only supports the lawsuit, but may also be interested in using county resources to join the fight.

“We want to do something more than a resolution, or at least I personally do, because that’s seemingly meaningless,” Gaspar said. “We’ll be working in closed session with our legal team to really explore any and all options that we have as a county to provide meaningful input into this lawsuit.”

Local governments in recent weeks have taken varying approaches to weighing in on the lawsuit, from resolutions to voting to file lawsuits themselves.

The San Juan Capistrano City Council last week passed a resolution against Senate Bill 54, which limits cooperation between local police and federal immigration authorities.

Aliso Viejo, Escondido and Mission Viejo are among the cities whose leaders have voted to file amicus briefs in support of the Trump administration’s position. Such briefs are often submitted by those who have an interest in a court case but are not parties in the lawsuit.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted last month to join the lawsuit, while the Huntington Beach City Council last week voted to file its own suit.

The Los Alamitos City Council voted to “exempt” the city from the sanctuary laws.

Meantime, the Santa Ana City Council voted last week to file a brief siding with the state.