City News Service

Santa Ana Declares Itself Sanctuary City for Residents Despite Immigration Status

The city of Santa Ana stood in defiant opposition to President-elect Donald J. Trump Wednesday after its city council voted unanimously to declare Orange County's second most populous city a sanctuary city.

Council members voted 5-0 Tuesday night to adopt a sanctuary resolution requiring the city to strengthen existing policies meant to protect residents.

Those include prohibiting the use of city resources for immigration enforcement.

The resolution is nonbinding but council members expressed support for turning the resolution into an ordinance, which could come up for a vote at the council's next meeting.

The council also voted to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials that the city plans to reduce the number of beds available in its jail to house immigration detainees -- from about 200 to a maximum of 128. The move is part of a plan to phase out an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement after council members voted in May to terminate the contract as soon as possible.

Council members voted 5-0 to notify ICE that it will reduce the number of detainees, leading to the closure of a jail module and an annual net revenue loss of $663,743.

Activists, though they recognize the city's strides, now want council members to establish a timeline for ending the contract with ICE before Trump's inauguration in January.

"We need to establish a commission that is going to create accountability measures so the city follows up with tangible items that they could involve the immigrant community in," said Roberto Herrera, community engagement advocate of Resilience OC, a social youth engagement group in Orange County.

City Manager David Cavazos said he believes Santa Ana is the first Orange County city to adopt the kind of resolution voted on Tuesday.

At the urging of more than 40 speakers, council members also voted to establish an oversight task force to monitor adherence to the resolution and directed Cavazos to bring a sanctuary ordinance for consideration at the council's Dec. 20 meeting.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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