Orange County joins federal lawsuit against state's sanctuary laws

The Board of Supervisors in Orange County, California has voted (3-0) to join a federal lawsuit against the state over sanctuary policies that prevent law enforcement from cooperating with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers. From the LA Times:

The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to move against the state’s “sanctuary” laws, adding a powerful voice to a growing backlash in some conservative parts of California to the state’s pro-immigrant policies.

The board voted 3-0 to join a federal lawsuit against California’s sanctuary laws.

SB 54, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed after the Legislature passed it last year, prohibits state and local police agencies from notifying federal officials in many cases when immigrants in their custody who may potentially be subject to deportation are about to be released.

The move by OC Supervisors follows a vote last week by the city of Los Alamitos to exempt itself from the California Values Act. But even before today’s vote there was a sign of resistance in the county. Starting Monday, the Orange County’s Sheriff’s Department began posting a database of information on current inmates, including when they were scheduled to be released, in an attempt to get around the limitations of the California Law. From the Orange County Register:

As of Monday, March 26, an existing “Who’s in Jail” online database includes the date and time of inmates’ release – a move agency officials say will enhance communication with its law enforcement partners.

The release date information applies to all inmates, not just those who are suspected of being in the country illegally. But the goal is to assist agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

“This is in response to SB-54 limiting our ability to communicate with federal authorities and our concern that criminals are being released to the street when there’s another avenue to safeguard the community by handing them over (to ICE for potential deportation),” Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the lawsuit against California earlier this month. That lawsuit claims that portions of three different laws (including the California Values Act) are attempts to supersede federal immigration law and should be struck down. “California, it appears to me is using every power it has, powers it doesn’t have to frustrate federal law enforcement,” Sessions said. In response to the announcement, California Governor Jerry Brown accused Sessions of bringing a “reign of terror” to the state.

Michelle Steele, one of the OC Supervisors appeared on Fox Business Monday to discuss the reasons for the upcoming vote: