One city in California is wasting no time showing the rest of America where it stands on President-elect Donald Trump’s impending anti-immigrant policies.
Santa Ana’s City Council passed a resolution declaring itself a “sanctuary city” for undocumented immigrants on Tuesday, in a move council members attributed directly to Trump’s xenophobic campaign rhetoric.
“The day after Donald Trump got elected, our kids were falling apart emotionally. They thought their parents would be deported,” City Counselor Sal Tinajero told the Los Angeles Times. “The reason you’re seeing this push now is that us leaders … want to tell them they are going to be protected. If they are going to come for them, they have to come through us first.”
The Orange County Register explained some of the policies that the resolution called for:
Those policies include prohibiting the use of city resources for immigration enforcement, reaffirming commitment to preventing biased-based policing, exercising maximum discretion in policing, protecting sensitive information, and providing training for affected employees, officials and agents.
The resolution, which passed the city council 5–0, is a largely symbolic gesture that carries no significant legal weight. However, there are plans underway to pass an ordinance which would turn the values espoused in the resolution into concrete policies that can be legally enforced.
According to the Register, the city council will vote on turning Santa Ana’s sanctuary city resolution into an ordinance December 20.
President-elect Trump made attacks on sanctuary cities a major portion of his anti-immigration platform during the 2016 campaign, vowing to cut federal funding for such cities—a move that earned determined pushback from communities across the country.
In declaring itself a sanctuary city, Santa Ana joins hundreds of communities around the country which have made efforts to protect their foreign-born residents against the threat of deportation and arrest.
“There is no definition of a sanctuary city,” immigration attorney Lena Graber told NPR in November. “There are a lot of sanctuary policies that are more just about not asking about immigration status by city agencies or law enforcement.”
Graber also noted that in some cases, “sanctuary city” status is related to a community’s unwillingness to imprison arrestees at the behest of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. And, in fact, during Tuesday’s city council vote, Santa Ana also took steps to begin downgrading an existing contract with ICE, reportedly lowering the number of detainees it will house in its jail. Like the sanctuary city vote, that measure was also passed 5–0.