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Story highlights

Orange County board votes to join federal lawsuit opposing California's "sanctuary" law

Policy prohibits local agencies from some cooperation with US immigration enforcement

(CNN) —  

Not all of California opposes President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Los Alamitos, a small city in Orange County, voted last week to oppose California’s “sanctuary” law. And now the county government is joining the backlash against the state policy, which prohibits local law enforcement from some cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday in a closed-door session to join the federal government in a lawsuit against California over the state law that went into effect in January.

Earlier this month, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a lawsuit over California’s sanctuary policies in an escalating battle between the Trump administration and the Golden State. The lawsuit is over parts of three California laws that are intended to protect undocumented immigrants from federal immigration officials.

People opposing SB 54 celebrate Tuesday in Santa Ana, California.
Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/LA Times via Getty Images
People opposing SB 54 celebrate Tuesday in Santa Ana, California.

At Tuesday’s county board meeting, critics of the California policy wore American flag apparel and waved signs reading, “No, No, No Sanctuary State.”

US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican whose district is based in Orange County, urged the county supervisors to fight the California law, Senate Bill 54.

“By making this a sanctuary city, a sanctuary state, we’re doing nothing more than attracting millions of more people to come to this country and consume the very wealth that’s being talked about today that’s necessary for quality of life for the poor group of Americans,” he said.

Rohrabacher also said that the “flow of illegals” had brought down the quality of public education, health care and housing, and that millions of undocumented people were coming to get benefits.

The Orange County supervisors’ move to oppose the California sanctuary law follows a vote by Los Alamitos, which last week opted out of the policy. Critics warned that Los Alamitos could be risking lawsuits by violating state law.

Mayor Troy Edgar told The Orange County Register newspaper that the message was clear: “As the mayor of Los Alamitos, we are not a sanctuary city.”

In the meantime, several other Orange County cities are mulling similar actions to oppose the state policy.

Kevin de Leόn, author of SB 54 who is now running for US Senate, tweeted in response to the Orange County vote: “While California as a whole may be progressive, repeated attacks on hardworking immigrants to portray them as criminals are a stain on California’s history. The people of Orange County deserve better.”

Orange County is the third most-populous county in California, with an estimated 3.2 million residents. Parts of the county are red, and surrounded by blue areas such as Los Angeles to its north.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is also defying the state law by making its inmate release dates public through an online database.

SB 54 had placed restrictions on local law enforcement’s ability to communicate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but the law doesn’t limit information that’s available to the public, the department said in a statement.

The agency announced that the public posting was to “enhance communication between the Sheriff’s Department and our law enforcement partners to remove dangerous offenders from our community.”

CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.