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News from:
City Attorney Barbara J. Parker

Friday, May 18, 2018

Oakland and other localities file brief opposing fed attack on California’s sanctuary laws

OAKLAND, CA — Today the City of Oakland, Los Angeles and Santa Clara Counties and 22 other local jurisdictions filed an amicus (“friend of court”) brief supporting three California “sanctuary” laws that the federal government is attacking.

The amicus brief, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, supports California’s defense of three laws the state enacted in 2017. The laws protect public safety across the state, and the health and welfare of all Californians, by focusing state and local resources on law enforcement rather than federal civil immigration compliance. Oakland, Santa Clara County and Los Angeles County co-authored the brief.

The Trump administration sued California in March to invalidate the laws, claiming that they create an “atmosphere of defiance” against federal immigration authorities.

See: U.S. v. State of California, Case No. 18-490, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

“Oakland is proud to be a sanctuary city that encourages the community to work with police and helps law enforcement investigate and prevent crimes in our city,” City Attorney Barbara J. Parker said. “We will continue to focus our resources on fighting crime, rather than tearing apart Oakland families and making our city less safe.”

The three laws targeted by the federal government, which include the California Values Act (SB 54), are consistent with federal law and reflect the judgment of  local officials across the state that sanctuary policies help police by empowering the entire community to report crimes and serve as witnesses – regardless of immigration status.

The brief explains that areas where “diverse communities can participate equally in civic life” are not only safer, but also healthier and more prosperous.  By filing the brief, localities and officials from all corners of California – from the largest counties to the smallest cities – demonstrate their strong support for more effective policing and sound public policy.

In addition to the City of Oakland and Los Angeles and Santa Clara Counties, the following 22 other cities, counties, and local officials from across the state signed the amicus brief: the County of Alameda, City of Albany, City of Arvin, City of Berkeley, City of Culver City, City of Davis, City of East Palo Alto, County of Marin, County of Monterey, City of Morgan Hill, City of Mountain View, City of Palm Springs, City of Richmond, City of Sacramento, City of San Diego, City of San José, City of Santa Ana, County of Santa Cruz, City of Santa Monica, County of Sonoma, City of Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and the City of West Hollywood.

As the brief states, the signers “collective experience makes clear that trust between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect is weakened when local law enforcement officers are viewed as de facto immigration enforcers.”

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