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San Diego County, Escondido Consider Joining Lawsuit Over Sanctuary State Policies

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is shown in this photo, Jan. 10, 2017.
Katie Schoolov
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is shown in this photo, Jan. 10, 2017.
San Diego County, Escondido Consider Joining Lawsuit Over Sanctuary State Policies
San Diego County, Escondido Consider Joining Lawsuit Over Sanctuary State Policies GUEST: Joshua Stewart, politics reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

>> The top story. San Diego maybe joining the Trump administration's fight against California's immigration laws. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors and Escondido City Council are thinking about becoming a part of the federal government's lawsuit over California's so-called sanctuary state laws which limit some cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials. The orange county supervisors made that decision Tuesday. The largest local government yet to face-off against California. Joining the is the San Diego Union Tribune politics reporter Joshua Stewart. Thank you for coming to the program. >> What can you tell us about where members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors may stand on whether to join the lawsuit and which side they would take? >> There isn't too much to figure out exactly where they might go. But there is one situation that happened a few years ago that might give a bit of a hint. This was in 2016. And they changed the terminology for how they refer to undocumented immigrants. And they used a much more politically correct term to refer to these people. They now refer to them as undocumented immigrants as opposed to illegal immigrants. This was a 3-2 split with current supervisors and still supervisors Greg Cox and Ron Roberts voting for the change as well as Dave Roberts who is no longer on the Board of Supervisors. There might now be a 3-2 majority in favor of joining the Trump administration lawsuit. They also might back the Trump administration in California's lawsuit against the census -- Census question. >> I get the impression that members of the Board of Supervisors don't really have too much of a problem with that question. What the question does is, it asks people if they are an immigrant. The concern from some people is that, by asking the question, it would deter people from participating in a census which would deflate California's population, which could mean it loses members of Congress or a slice of its share for various federal fundings. >> The question over whether they are citizens or not -- given the city of Escondido's city -- history with immigrants, is it likely that the City Council will vote to join the Trump suit? >> I would say so. There is largely one voice that would be against this. It comes from member Olga Diaz. But the mayor has not hesitated before to champion measures that would put pressure on undocumented immigrants. Escondido itself might be best known for an effort to require landlords to ask the renters about their immigration status, effectively enforcing immigration policies. >> Briefly remind us what the three immigration laws that the Trump administration is suing over and what they do. >> These laws are largely about the relationship between state and local law enforcement and federal immigration officials. They limit how state and local law enforcement agencies can cooperate with federal immigration officials, including -- largely it says they can't do pretty much anything unless the person in question has been convicted of a serious crime. There are quite a few crimes in question here that would trigger it. They are also suing over what is called the immigration worker protection act which is a rule that prohibits businesses from giving immigration officials employee records, unless the immigration officials obtain a subpoena. And they are suing basically over these efforts that limit abilities for Californians -- whether they are police officers or private businesses, to cooperate with immigration officials. >> Earlier this week, President Trump tweeted out his support for Orange County. He said "my administration stands in solidarity with the brave citizens of Orange County, defending their rights against California's unconstitutional sanctuary policies. California's stationary laws -- sanctuary laws permit criminals across the state. The president seems to be implying that these policies prevent immigration authorities from doing their jobs. When you look at the level of immigration arrests we have seen in San Diego, how to those two things compare? >> Immigration arrests have been up, as have deportations. That is not a new thing. With this administration either. It would suggest that they are still able to do their job. They just night -- might not be able to do the job exactly the way they want to do it. >> Bill Gore spoke with the Union Tribune and is tasked with carrying out some measures in these laws. What has his reaction been to the county supervisor's potential decision? >> I spoke with him yesterday. His basic advice was, don't get involved. It wasn't go one way or the other but just stay out of it. Additionally, I spoke with the former District attorney yesterday who is also currently a candidate for supervisor. And her basic claim as well, but for different reasons, was to stay out of it too. Her reasoning was that immigration is not a County issue. So it is a different reasoning than Bill Gore whose expedition is that, if the county gets involved with this, it might deter victims of crime from reporting things that have happened to them, like -- specifically said victims of domestic violence -- that are undocumented or whose abuser might be undocumented might be quiet instead of reporting that they have been hurt. >> And our's final moments, the Board of Supervisors for San Diego County will take up this issue in a closed session on April 17th. How soon might we learn what they decide? >> As soon as they decide to take any action. If they agree to a friend of the Court brief, we would find of them. >> I have been speaking to San Diego Union Tribune politics reporter Joshua Stewart. Thank you. >> Thank you.

San Diego may be joining the Trump administration’s fight against California’s immigration laws.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors and Escondido City Council are thinking about joining the federal government’s lawsuit over the state’s so-called sanctuary state laws, which limit some cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials.

The board of supervisors will take up the issue April 17 in closed session.

Orange County’s supervisors voted unanimously to join the Trump administration in the lawsuit Tuesday, the largest local government yet to face off against California.

Joshua Stewart, politics reporter with The San Diego Union-Tribune, discusses Thursday on Midday Edition