SANTA ANA, Calif. (Dec. 29, 2016) – Last month, the Santa Ana, Calif. city council unanimously passed an ordinance requiring the city to implement policies that include prohibiting the use of city resources for the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

The council based the legally binding ordinance on language in a non-binding resolution declaring the municipality a “sanctuary city” two weeks earlier. According to the Orange County Register, the restriction on use of city resources does not apply when a subject is under investigation, has an outstanding criminal warrant, has been convicted of a felony or faces a felony charge. In addition to the ban on using city resources, the ordinance also requires the city to protect sensitive information, prevent biased-based policing and directs law enforcement officials to exercise discretion to cite and release individuals instead of detaining them at a local facility or county jail.

The ordinance passed by a 5-0 vote on Dec. 20.

Santa Ana is located in Orange County, one of the most politically conservative and reliably Republican areas in California. But the city’s population is 78 percent Latino and the makeup of the council reflects the population.

Republicans have called for the defunding of sanctuary cities. While the federal government could legitimately withhold funds related to immigration enforcement, yanking funds more broadly or punishing city officials as Newt Gingrich called for would violate well-established legal precedent.

Based on the Tenth Amendment and affirmed by four major Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842, the anti-commandeering doctrine prohibits the federal government from forcing states to provide state resources or personnel for enforcement of federal acts.

Mike Maharrey

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