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Last fall, the California Values Act was signed into law, curtailing cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials and underscoring California’s role as a leader of the anti-Trump resistance. Studies have shown that jurisdictions with pro-immigrant policies are safer than those without them, and cities and states with such policies have been a bulwark against Donald Trump’s massively destructive deportation force.
The Values Act, however, is now under attack from out-of-state anti-immigrant associations organized by hate groups like FAIR.
Here’s how the OC Register summarized it, in a piece called “sanctuary opponents travel from town to town screaming an agenda”:
They are a group of about 20 people – sometimes more – from throughout Southern California who, in recent weeks, have been turning out for multiple city council debates to loudly voice their support for anti-sanctuary measures.
They talk proudly about the rule of law and patriotism. But on their own videos, which they share on social media, they also use insults and anti-Semitic language. And they sometimes single out people on the other side of the sanctuary debate with words and behavior that border on threats.
They don’t have an official name. One Huntington Beach resident called them “The Hate Circus,” though the demonstrators prefer monikers like “Patriot’s Tour.”
In many of the communities – from West Covina to Los Alamitos to Escondido, where leaders have considered actions to oppose the state’s so-called sanctuary laws – they’ve been called “outsiders.”
“You all are taking my city hostage,” said Guerline Jozel, a 20-year-resident of Aliso Viejo, as she spoke to a crowd jammed outside city hall. Jozel, like many others that night, couldn’t get into the council meeting because of the overflow crowd.
The article goes on to detail the screaming rants and troll-like tendencies of members of the hate circus, how one of them verbally accosted a rabbi, the anti-Semitic remarks made on multiple occasions, and how they have even yelled at children.
As Rabbi Stephen Einstein, of Fountain Valley, California told the OC Register:
Those are telling comments. Many people who have issues with current immigration policy also hold virulently racist views toward other groups.
Sadly, some conservative city governments are bending to the hate circus, passing ordinances to try and exempt themselves from the California Values Act. An attempt by a city to avoid implementing a state law would normally be meaningless, except that Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is also suing California over the law, giving the conservative cities someone to side with. Donald Trump met with the leaders of some of these conservative cities this week, setting the stage for his racist and vile comment about immigrants being “animals”.
Claudia Perez, a columnist at the Voice of OC, describes the assault on the Values Act as a coordinated action:
The two-pronged assault involves an outside strategy and an inside strategy. The outside strategy is led by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and aims to legally challenge the California Values Act. The inside strategy led by white nationalist think tanks, such as FAIR and IRLI, aims to encourage elected officials throughout cities in California to join the legal attack against SB 54, as well as for cities to disobey the rule of law and misuse taxpayer money by launching their own legal attacks against the State of California over the Values Act.
In this manner, the Trump Administration continues to disrupt and destabilize California from the inside by also targeting and manipulating the perceptions of its residents through misinformation about the immigrant community in order to disinhibit and foment racism, anger, rage, hate and acts of disgust against immigrant families.
To date, cities that are taking action against the Values Act or siding with the Trump Administration’s lawsuit include Los Alamitos, Aliso Viejo, Escondido, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, San Juan Capistrano, Westminster, Yorba Linda, and Orange County.
The vast majority of cities and counties in California are carrying out the Values Act, with Santa Ana and San Gabriel taking proactive steps to commit themselves to pro-immigrant resolutions. Porterville, Del Norte County, and San Dimas are among the communities that defeated attempted anti-Values Act resolutions.
As Hairo Cortes, the Director of Chispa, wrote at the Voice of OC, it’s no accident that this new battle against anti-immigrant forces is rising mostly in southern California. SoCal is the home of the infamous Pete Wilson, the former California Governor whose policies were so anti-immigrant they turned the state blue for decades — as well as the first Secure Communities program, the last of California’s 287(g) agreements, and the Murrieta-based Minutemen.
Meanwhile, in the face of screaming anti-immigrant voices and race-baiting trolls, resistance-minded Californians and pro-immigrant local governments can and should take action. As Cortes wrote:
The TRUST, Truth, and California Values acts that make up the bulk of the state’s sanctuary framework, created a minimum set of protections for our immigrant residents. They established a floor, not a ceiling, that cities can raise with local ordinances.
It’s time more cities raise that floor and counter the intolerance FAIR is nurturing among Orange County governments with a stronger resolve to welcome and protect their immigrant residents.