Community leaders urge San Diego County Board of Supervisors to not join lawsuit against California

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Several San Diego County community leaders Tuesday urged the County Board of Supervisors to vote against joining the Trump administration’s lawsuit against California over its immigration policies.

The lawsuit, filed by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in early March, targets California’s so-called “sanctuary” laws and refers to them as unconstitutional. One of the laws prohibits state and local authorities from notifying federal immigration when they arrest an undocumented immigrant thought there are exceptions for serious and violent crimes.

Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Kristin Gaspar has proposed the county join the lawsuit, and she has set a closed-door vote on the matter for April 17.

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David Bejarano, the former San Diego Police Department chief, said: "As the past president of the California Police Chief's Association, SB 54 addresses significant public safety concerns, which is that California law enforcement should not be used to assist with mass immigration deportations. Furthermore, by continuing to allow local police to collaborate with federal law enforcement partners during criminal investigations, local agencies can focus on protecting everyone in our communities from violent and serious criminals."

The San Diego chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) added: “Many county residents believe the lawsuit is an affront to the California values of fairness, inclusion and compassion. It is also a baseless assault on the state's economy, public safety and worker rights. According to the American Immigration Council, undocumented immigrants contribute approximately $3.2 billion in state and local taxes. They are an integral part of some of the most important industries in San Diego and in all of California, including hospitality, construction and agriculture. Further, research studies demonstrate and law enforcement experts, such as Bejarano, agree that building trust with our immigrant communities is critical to public safety."

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The Escondido City Council recently voted to support the federal suit against California but did not join the litigation.

Last month, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of joining the Trump administration lawsuit -- a decision that the president praised via Twitter.

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