At a special City Council meeting May 21, the Carlsbad City Council voted to support the federal government’s lawsuit against California’s so called “sanctuary state” laws, which limit the ability of local law enforcement to coordinate and communicate with federal immigration enforcement agencies.
The action Tuesday will not have any immediate effect on law enforcement in Carlsbad, and Council members stressed the importance of continuing to follow all state laws.
Last year the California legislature passed three laws, known as AB 450, AB 103 and SB 54, that provide some protections for undocumented immigrants from federal immigration enforcement, unless they have committed a serious crime. In early 2018, the federal government filed a law suit challenging portions of these state laws.
To date, more than two dozen California cities have taken a formal position to support the federal lawsuit against certain provisions of the three laws. The County of San Diego and Orange County also voted to support federal lawsuit. Huntington Beach decided to file its own lawsuit against the state. The cities of Orange and Los Alamitos also voted to “opt out” of enforcing the state laws. About 20 cities, including the Chula Vista, National City and San Diego, have voted to support the state laws.
In April, the City Council requested city staff put the issue on an upcoming meeting agenda for discussion and to hear comments from the public.
A total of 19 speakers addressed the City Council, representing many of the views held by people on all sides of the immigration debate, including state’s rights vs. federal law and immigration policy. City Council members praised audience members for remaining civil and respectful in spite of holding differing views.
The City Council will formalize its statement of support in a resolution to be voted on at an upcoming City Council meeting. The City Council will also join the federal lawsuit against the state by filing a “friend of the court” brief. Since the deadline to join the lawsuit has passed, the city will need to wait until the currently pending case reaches the appellate level, which will likely take at least a year.
The City of Carlsbad Police Department routinely updates its policy manual to ensure consistency with new state laws. It completed the most recent update in May to reflect the three laws that are the subject of the federal lawsuit.
According to Carlsbad Police Chief Neil Gallucci, the City of Carlsbad Police Department is committed to carrying out its duties in accordance with the law and does not have a formal position on sanctuary city issues.