The small city of Los Alamitos wants out of California's sanctuary law

Los Alamitos City Hall
Los Alamitos City Hall
Courtesy of the city of Los Alamitos via Facebook

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Leaders of a small Orange County city have given preliminary approval to an ordinance that seeks to exempt the city from a state law that limits cooperation between local agencies and federal immigration agents.

The Los Alamitos City Council voted 4-1 Monday night to approve the ordinance. A required second vote is expected on April 16. Los Alamitos is a community of less than 12,000 people, about 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

The vote followed intense public comment by residents for and against the effort to distance the city from the so-called sanctuary movement.

Take Two spoke with Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar on his way to work Tuesday morning, following Monday night's vote. 

He elaborated on the council majority's vote to direct the city attorney to write a brief supporting a federal lawsuit against California that alleges three of the state's laws are unconstitutional. Once filed, the Amicus brief, Mayor Edgar explained, will "show of support for the direction that we are trying to get clarification on this constitutional issue."

Likewise, the mayor expanded on what the ordinance would look like if it gained enough votes in April. "We would expect the city policy would be followed and honestly," he said, "I don't really look at it a whole lot different and I don't think it's going to be that dramatic."

When asked what that would look like for police, Mayor Edgar elaborated:

"I would expect our police department to enforce the ordinances that we have passed as a city, so yeah. I think we had to go into this with full intention that we expect people to pass and support the laws that we pass."

Thought it's looking very likely that the ordinance will pass the second vote in April, on the off chance that it doesn't, the Mayor said he hopes the move will take on a symbolic meaning and inspire other cities to stand up to state legislation they don't agree with.

"I've been calling out to mayors across Orange County and some outside of Orange County just asking them to consider supporting doing the same thing. There are over 500 cities in the state of California and I think that somehow, maybe it's just this one small city that's a blip on the radar, maybe it's the beginning of other cities standing up..."

This story has been updated.