Santa Clarita residents approached the city council with concerns on Senate Bill 54, also known as the California Values Act. This bill limits cooperation by local law enforcement with federal immigration authorities.
Sheriff’s said the bill greatly impacts the communication between local and federal agencies, by obligating federal immigration officers to go into communities when on the lookout for immigrants that pose a danger to the public.
A handful of speakers voiced their support and concerns to the council during a seven hour meeting resulting in a 5-0 vote to oppose the bill.The council added that they will file an amicus brief in support of the Trump administration against the state.
Council members received 442 emails that opposed the bill and 63 that were in favor of it, Councilman Cameron Smyth told constituents.
Santa Clarita is now the only city in the Los Angeles County to oppose this bill.
The council’s decision has made Santa Clarita the only city in the Los Angeles County to oppose the bill.
A protest even gathered outside of the city hall before the meeting. One side believed that if immigrants are kept in Santa Clarita then the city would not be considered safe any more. The opposing side argued that the bill protects families and keeps them together.
When the meeting was about to start, the crowd sung the national anthem and slowly entered the building. Even though banners were not allowed inside the building, many still held them. Banners that said “LIE” and “EVERYONE IS WELCOMED HERE.” Supporters of Trump wore red shirts and “Make America Great Again” hats.
“They’re not criminals because they are doing something for their families. You want to go after criminals, go after the banks that practically ruin our economy, the insurance benefits and look at the White House, ” said Alex Reza who has lived in Newhall for four years.
Many could not keep quiet in this meeting because of comments that public speakers made like this one, causing frustration with Mayor Laurene West:
“This is an unnecessary and expensive use of public funds,” said Kelly Krisha as the audience roared in the background. “Decades of data support that while there’s been an increase in immigration there’s been a decrease in crime.”
West patiently told members of the audience to not make any noise since this would make the meeting run much faster. The audience sometimes listened by raising their hands and moving their fingers instead of clapping and cheering.
High school students were also part of the audience such as Sebastian Castrez, 17.
“My parents are undocumented and though they contribute this country. This councils vote can destroy my entire life. I don’t want them to take away my family, ” said Castrez.
One Spanish speaker with the help of a translator was brave enough to speak out her thoughts to council members.
“What is the most sad part to me is that I see families that end up divided, where in places they are even forgotten by their children, where they are even asking us to help them, to give them water and in those places it doesn’t matter if you speak English or Spanish, “ said Teresa Galvez.
Constituents fell to their knees in tranquility as the meeting came to a close, many shouting “USA! USA!USA!” and “TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP!”