County supervisor defends sanctuary vote as local Dems lash out

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Kristin Gaspar said Wednesday the county’s opposition to California’s sanctuary state law is intended to send a message to Sacramento that immigration enforcement is vital in border communities.

“We’re sending a clear message to Gov. (Jerry) Brown: enough is enough,” Gaspar said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.” “He needs to follow the Constitution. He can’t attempt to undermine federal immigration laws by implementing state laws that are having devastating impacts on the San Diego community that shares a border with Mexico.”

The supervisor said sanctuary-state policies encourage human, weapons and drug trafficking in San Diego County.

SB 54, the California Values Act, limits cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. Supporters of the law believe it makes immigrants who are living in the country illegally more likely to report crime and cooperate in law-enforcement investigations. But opponents say it stifles federal efforts to detain criminals.

The Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 on Tuesday to file an amicus brief to join the U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit against three state policies. The deadline to file such a brief has passed, so the county will only be able to take action if and when the case goes to a higher court for appeal.

Supervisor Greg Cox, the lone “no” vote, slammed the board’s decision to side with the federal government.

“The board’s vote is a largely symbolic move that will create fear and divisiveness in our region, waste taxpayer funds and create distrust of law enforcement and local government within many communities,” Cox said.

Supervisor Ron Roberts wasn’t present for Tuesday’s vote because of a “long-planned trip,” but he released a statement urging his colleagues to “stay out of this issue.”

State Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said the state’s recent immigration policies were carefully crafted to abide by the Constitution.

“SB 54 does not shield violent and dangerous criminals from deportation, and it does not prevent federal immigration authorities from doing their job,” she said. “We’ve worked hard to bring our undocumented immigrant communities out of the shadows and into society because research shows it makes our state safer and more prosperous for all.”

Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, also criticized the board.

“A majority on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors has yet again demonstrated that they are out-of-touch. Rather than tackling urgent local problems facing San Diego County like homelessness or providing mental health services, the board chose to engage in political posturing that serves no practical purpose other than to divide our community,” he said.

But Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, praised the resolution.

“The U.S. Constitution clearly places border policy and our immigration laws within the purview of the federal government,” he said. “State or local governments cannot just choose to ignore federal statutes because of a political agenda, especially when doing so places its citizens at risk by leaving criminals eligible for deportation in our communities.”

With the vote, San Diego County became the most populous county to rebuke state immigration policies.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted last month to join the federal lawsuit. The Escondido, Huntington Beach and Los Alamitos city councils also recently rejected the state’s sanctuary laws.

President Donald Trump even weighed in on the issue overnight, writing on his Twitter page, “There is a revolution going on in California. Soooo many sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept.”