Immigration insurrectionists place their call from inside California

Elected officials in Sacramento region’s most conservative county await outcome of Trump lawsuit

This is an extended version of a story that appears in the June 14, 2018, issue.

State and federal attorneys have traded filings all spring related to the Trump administration’s lawsuit in the California Eastern District Court over the state’s sanctuary policy. While the lawsuit chugs toward possible showdowns in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court, officials in the Sacramento region’s most conservative county have been largely buying time over taking a side in the contentious issue.

The sanctuary laws, passed in the state legislature in 2017 as Senate Bill 54, Assembly Bill 450 and AB 103, restrict enacting federal immigration policy in California, including limiting the amount of information local law enforcement agencies can share with federal authorities and prohibiting workplace targeting of immigrants.

At a raucous Placer County Board of Supervisors meeting May 8, multiple speakers seized on immigrant-related crimes, such as the murder of two law enforcement officers by Luis Bracamontes, who was recently sentenced to death.

Orange County Assemblyman Travis Allen, whose Republican gubernatorial run ended last week, told the board that a city in his area, Los Alamitos, was the first to “opt out” of the law and that numerous other cities have followed.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this movement has caught fire, this movement has caught fire around the state of California for one very simple reason: The sanctuary state policy of Jerry Brown, Kevin de Leon and the California Democrats have endangered every single Californian,” Allen said.

As of June 1, at least 12 counties and 42 cities have officially opposed California’s sanctuary laws, said Dennis Revell, chair for the Placer County Republican Central Committee. The cities include Lincoln, the only one in Placer County so far to take action, though Revell said he suspected Rocklin, Loomis and Colfax will be approached as well.

Supervisors ultimately ignored a push, though, engineered by the Placer County Republican Party, to schedule a public hearing for May 22, adopt a resolution opposing California’s sanctuary law and file an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit.

“As the representative body of a political subdivision of the State of California, the Placer County Board of Supervisors does not have the authority to declare that certain state laws do not apply in the county,” Chair Jim Holmes said in a statement.

Meanwhile, at the April 11 council meeting for Placer’s most populous city, Roseville, 11 people voiced concerns during the time for public comment after rumors spread that the council might look to oppose the sanctuary policy.

“There’s been a lot of ICE raids in our region,” Roseville resident Olga Trevizo told the council. “A gentleman was picked up in Auburn recently. And I’m concerned there may be folks on this dais who want to take a vote to make sure that Roseville is not considered a sanctuary city.”

Though no one from the public spoke in support of Roseville opting out of the sanctuary law, the city’s vice mayor, Bonnie Gore, a Republican and a Trump donor, proceeded with a call near the end of the meeting for the city to oppose the law. “I heard the comments this evening from many of our community members and this is not about immigration,” Gore said. “This is about protecting our residents from violent crimes.”

Gore got little support from the dais, with the council ultimately directing city staff to review what other jurisdictions are doing.

“I think we need information before we take any kind of action,” Councilman John Allard said.

Other council members more pointedly rejected Gore’s argument. “I’m going to disagree with Bonnie completely,” Councilman Tim Herman said. “I have not seen our chief of police come to say they need anything to make our city safer.”

Roseville City Attorney Bob Schmitt told SN&R his staff prepared a confidential memo for the council and that he wasn’t aware of the city taking any other action related to the matter.

It remains to be seen when the Trump lawsuit will be resolved. Filed March 6, the case already has a lengthy docket and a quick dismissal for either side seems unlikely. On May 24, Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman ordered the state to quickly respond to a series of interrogatories.

Multiple speakers at the Roseville council meeting alluded to the city facing a projected $14 million budget deficit. Despite what anti-sanctuary conservatives tried to achieve, the public’s concern was elsewhere.

Gore’s gambit didn’t appear to hurt her politically. At press time, she was leading Placer County Supervisor Jack Duran, a Democrat, for his District 1 seat.