The grieving father leading the fight to repeal California's sanctuary state law

At this point, California is fighting a war on two fronts in an effort to save their besieged sanctuary state law known as SB54. The federal government is suing the state to repeal three recent laws enacted covering various aspects of immigration enforcement. Simultaneously, several cities and at least one county are suing them from the inside, declaring that they are exempt from the laws. But now the internal revolt will be taken to the next level.

In 2010, Don Rosenberg lost his son to a car accident caused by an unlicensed immigrant driver. Since that time he’s been on a crusade to get rid of illegal immigrants. It’s some new territory for him since he describes himself as a life-long liberal who likely wouldn’t have much in common with most conservatives, but on this point he’s passionate. And now he’s leading the charge to gather enough signatures to put a referendum up for a vote. If passed, it would repeal SB54 entirely.

A man whose son was killed by an immigrant said Wednesday he and other advocates will mount a drive to try to overturn California’s new sanctuary law, putting the question directly to voters in a ballot initiative that, if it succeeds, would force police to share information with federal deportation authorities.

Don Rosenberg said they hope to file their initiative later this week, kicking off a six-month drive to get enough signatures, which could send the matter to voters in 2019 or 2020.

“This will be David versus Goliath. We’re clearly David on this side. But there are millions of Davids here,” Mr. Rosenberg said.

It’s the latest move in what’s become a high-stakes battle over SB54, the state law that severely limits state and local police and sheriff’s departments in their ability to communicate or work with Homeland Security.

They’re still hammering out the final language, but the proposed measure wouldn’t force local officials to arrest illegal immigrants if they don’t wish to, but will require them to provide reasonable cooperation and the timely sharing of information. Further, it will open up the books so citizens can keep track and see if the local authorities are cooperating with ICE.

Rosenberg describes this as an uphill battle but believes that the pushback against SB54 is gaining momentum and the national media attention they are receiving is emboldening more people to speak out. That, he feels, could provide the needed push to pass the referendum. Is he right? It sounds as if the more rural parts of California are already onboard with the idea so they could pick up a lot of signatures (and votes) up and down the eastern part of the state.

But the real question is whether or not that would translate into enough votes to overcome the very large and very blue cities along the coast. Keep in mind that those are the crowded pockets of population who keep sending the same geniuses to state office every year who enact laws like SB54 in the first place. I wish Don the best of luck, but this is still the left coast we’re talking about. He’s got a tough climb ahead of him. Or maybe not. After all, there are some whispering that they may elect a Republican governor next time. Personally, I’ll believe it when I see it.