29 California Counties and Cities File Brief Supporting California’s Sanctuary Laws

County of Santa Clara, County of Los Angeles, and City of Oakland  Lead Coalition of Local Governments Defending California Values Act against  Trump Administration’s Attack

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Joined by 26 other cities, counties, and local officials from across the state, the County of Santa Clara, County of Los Angeles, and City of Oakland are filing an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief today urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the California Values Act (SB 54) against an attack by the Trump Administration. 

The brief supports a California law that protects the safety, health, and welfare of all Californians by prioritizing state and local resources for law enforcement rather than immigration compliance. Dozens of localities and officials across the state, from the largest counties to the smallest towns, signed onto the brief. They agree that where local police do not serve as immigration agents, communities are safer because everyone, regardless of their immigration status, can feel empowered to report crimes. When the public does not fear that using government services will lead to deportation, communities are also healthier and more prosperous. 

“We’ve known for years that putting community safety first works,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Dave Cortese. “Everyone wins when County residents know their local police officers and government agencies are there for them, no matter what their immigration status is. We won’t stand in the way of federal agents doing their jobs, but we need to support our local officers in focusing on local issues.”

“Federal courts all across the country are rejecting the Trump Administration’s efforts to dictate how state and local governments can use their own resources,” added Santa Clara County Counsel James R. Williams. “The U.S. Constitution gives California and its cities and counties the right to decide how best to protect the health and safety of our community, and we’re proud to help the State defend that right.”

In early 2018, the federal government sued the State of California, arguing that the California Values Act and two other state sanctuary laws usurp the federal government’s authority on immigration issues. A federal judge disagreed with the vast majority of the Trump Administration’s arguments. The judge wrote that California has a strong “interest in extracting itself from immigration enforcement” because of “the impact that state law enforcement’s entanglement in immigration enforcement has on public safety.” The federal government appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit, which is hearing the case on an expedited basis.

*US v CA Amicus Brief​​

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About the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office

The County Counsel serves as legal counsel to the County, its Board of Supervisors and elected officials, every County department and agency, and the County’s boards and commissions. With a staff of 190 employees, including over 90 attorneys, the Office of the County Counsel is also responsible for all civil litigation involving the County and its officers. Through its Social Justice and Impact Litigation Section, the Office litigates high-impact cases, drafts innovative local ordinances, and develops policies and programs to advance social and economic justice.

About the County of Santa Clara, California

The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents. With a $7 billion annual budget, dozens of offices/departments, and over 20,000 employees, the County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many others, particularly for those in the greatest need. The County is the most populous in Northern California.

Media Contact:  Laurel Anderson/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119.

Posted: November 9, 2018​​​


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