An American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against Los Alamitos over the city's vote to reject California's so-called sanctuary-state law granting protections to some immigrants was put on hold Tuesday by an Orange County judge.
Attorneys for the ACLU and the city agreed to the delay because an appeals court is already reviewing Judge James Crandall's ruling in favor of Huntington Beach's legal challenge to Senate Bill 54. The legislation restricts local law enforcement from telling federal authorities when an immigrant in the country illegally will be released from custody or from sharing personal information about an immigrant that isn't public record.
Since the ACLU's lawsuit against Los Alamitos deals with the same issues raised in Huntington Beach's challenge and is also being handled by Crandall, the parties agreed to pause the case until the appeals court weighs in on the issues, ACLU attorney Sameer Ahmed said.
The ACLU plans to intervene in the Huntington Beach litigation, Ahmed said. Crandall ruled Sept. 27 that Huntington Beach, as a charter city, does not have to abide by the state's law.
Los Alamitos City Council members voted April 16 to adopt an ordinance exempting itself from the state law, prompting the ACLU lawsuit two days later.
"This is a great development in our fight against sanctuary law and for local control," Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar said of the hold on the city's lawsuit. "We realize that the Huntington Beach case is very strong and they will have the resources to pursue this all the way to the California Supreme Court. This immediately stops the costs of litigation for the city and we will await a ruling on Huntington Beach's lawsuit."
Ahmed noted that Los Alamitos, in the meantime, must still "follow the California Values Act and if we become aware of any violation we plan to hold them accountable. If not in this case, we could bring another case."