City of Orange votes to oppose California’s sanctuary law

Citizens and students gather in the Civic Centre for the Orange City Council meeting. Photo by Greta Nagy


The city of Orange will not sue California, but will comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, continuing deportations despite state law.  

Orange City Council met on Tuesday to discuss joining the Trump Administration’s impending lawsuit to revoke the California Values Act, SB 54, which prohibits police from turning over suspected undocumented immigrants to agents of deportation.

The city of Orange decided not to join the lawsuit against the state of California regarding SB 54.  

Orange Mayor Mark Murphy speaks about SB 54. Photo by Greta Nagy

However, Mayor Pro Tem, Mark Murphy, and Council member Fred Whitaker, requested a rejection of bill SB 54 for the duration of the lawsuit. The entirely Republican Board of Supervisors voted and approved this motion.

Having a “custody-to-custody transfer” of an individual is a safer option than releasing them from jail in hopes that immigration enforcement authorities can deal with them, according to Whitaker.

Board of Supervisors member, Lisa Bartlett, noted that safety is a substantial concern that needs to be taken into account.

“We have to make sure that we are not providing assistance to undocumented immigrants who have chosen to not follow the rules,” Bartlett said. “We want to ensure public safety for the general public and the homeless.”

Activists protested the decision with signs and chants. Among them was Daniel Espiritu, a Chapman student and resident of Orange.

Council member Fred Whitaker argues against the sanctuary law. Photo by Greta Nagy

“I have seen families get torn about by the immigration system. We have to keep stating that no human being is illegal,” Espiritu said. “What matters most is that we are building a coalition of activists and community leaders.”

Espiritu and many others feel that there is a hold on future advancements due to the party imbalance of the Board of Supervisors.

“While I do wish the city of Orange would adopt sanctuary city status, I understand that we have to accept any progress we can gain when the majority of our City Council is Republican,” Espiritu said.

He believes the immigrant community of Orange, along with activists who stand with them, will not lose hope.

Espiritu said, “It is only through our prolonged commitment that we will achieve our goals of creating an efficient path to citizenship for our immigrant community.”

Greta Nagy

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