VISTA, Calif. -- At least 100 students rallied in Vista Sunday to protest the city’s decision earlier this month to back President Donald Trump’s lawsuit against California’s sanctuary state law.
The vote added Vista to the list of cities legally opposed to Senate Bill 54, which was signed into law in October 2017 and ensures that no state or local resources are diverted to assist federal authorities to carry out mass deportations.
“I never thought that ICE would come and take away my family members,” student Wendy Hernandez told FOX 5 at the protest.
Hernandez is an American citizen. She says she knows the pain of deportation firsthand, saying it destroys families and futures.
“I saw them drag out my grandfather and my step-dad. And it’s something that still haunts me to this very day because I’ve seen how it changed my family from one way to the other, and it broke my family apart,” Hernandez said.
The Trump administration filed a lawsuit in March saying California's sanctuary city law, known as the California Values Act, interferes with federal authorities and federal law. Since then Vista, Carlsbad, Escondido and the County of San Diego have voted to back the federal lawsuit.
On the other side of the street -- and the debate -- Sunday stood two Trump supporters. Both men waved signs in support of the president and the administration’s lawsuit.
“He’s got no right to be here, and now he’s not, and that’s the way it should be,” said Sean Colgan of deportees.
"They don’t even know why they’re protesting,” said fellow counter-protester, Steve Hasty. “What part of 'illegal' do they not understand?”
The men told FOX 5 it’s not an issue of separating families, but rather a national security issue.
“It’s very simple: If you don’t want your family separated, don’t bring your family to the scene of a crime,” said Hasty.