At last night’s Anaheim City Council meeting, veteran Councilmember Lucille Kring – who represents District 4 – called for an up-or-down vote on sanctuary city status for Anaheim at the next council meeting, scheduled for April 25.
The question of Anaheim becoming a sanctuary city has been bubbling up since the 2016 council campaign. Kring, an opponent of sanctuary cities, made the request during the first council communications segment of last night’s meeting, stating she wanted the matter settled.
Sanctuary cities have become a front-burner political issue since the Donald Trump’s election. The Trump Administration has made immigration law enforcement a top priority, and seeks to cut-off federal funds for sanctuary cities. The progressive Democrats in charge of state government are determined to make California the center of “resistance” to the enforcement of laws against illegal immigration – a radical determination embodied in Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon legislation to make California a sanctuary state.
While there’s no precise legal definition of a sanctuary city, to paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart definition of pornography – you know if when you see it. Generally speaking, the public understands sanctuary city status to mean active non-cooperation with federal immigration authorities in order to prevent or interfere with the deportation of illegal immigrants.
District 3 Councilman Jose F. Moreno is most immediately impacted by having a yes-or-no vote on sanctuary city status come before the council. He narrowly defeated Councilman Jordan Brandman last year, winning 36% of the vote in a presidential election with historically high Democratic turnout. Moreno has to run again in 2018 since he drew the two-year seat in the post-swearing in casting of lots.
Moreno has long advocated a fairly radical position on illegal immigration, and at progressive candidate forum last year he expressed his support for making Anaheim a sanctuary city. However, he has cooled his rhetoric since drawing the two-year council seat. Although he frequently speaks from the dais about how Trump Administration impact undocumented immigrants in Anaheim, he has stopped short of fulfilling his pledged support for sanctuary city status. Instead, he and Mayor Tom Tait are piloting a “Welcoming Anaheim” immigration task force that many residents suspect is a Trojan Horse for advancing sanctuary city policies.
While California voters have a moderate attitude when it comes to aspects of illegal immigration such as pathways to legal status or citizenship for undocumented residents who otherwise law-abiding de facto Americans, they’re generally hostile to sanctuary cities since it entails official government support for violating immigration law, and associations with criminal behavior.
When Moreno runs for re-election in 2018, he’ll face a significantly smaller and likely more conservative electorate than the one which narrowly elected him in 2016.
Moreno was nonplussed with Kring’s request: during council communications at the end of the meeting, he challenged her to define a sanctuary city. Mayor Pro Tem James Vanderbilt ruled that was a discussion more appropriate for when the agenda item and resolution are actually before the council.