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Conservative backlash to California sanctuary law spreads north

Tuolumne County becomes latest jurisdiction to oppose law seeking to protect immigrants from deportation

Jeremy B. White
San Francisco
Friday 04 May 2018 20:54 BST
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People protest outside the San Diego County Administration Center ahead of a meeting where the supervisors voted to support the Trump administration's lawsuit challenging California's so-called sanctuary statute
People protest outside the San Diego County Administration Center ahead of a meeting where the supervisors voted to support the Trump administration's lawsuit challenging California's so-called sanctuary statute (REUTERS/Jennifer McEntee)

A backlash to California’s new “sanctuary” law protecting immigrants from deportation has formally spread to the northern part of the state.

Elected officials in Tuolumne County, which encompasses part of Yosemite National Park, passed a resolution repudiating a recently passed law that limits interaction between local law enforcement and immigration authorities.

The vote made Tuolumne County the third in California to officially push back on the law, following more-populous Orange County and San Diego County in southern California. Both of those states went further, voting to join the Trump administration's lawsuit challenging the law.

Multiple cities have also registered objections to the law, with the conservative beachside enclave of Huntington Beach suing the state for stripping powers from local governments.

The resolution rejects the “sanctuary jurisdiction” label for Tuolumne and says the county “does not have any intent of hindering enforcement” of immigration laws by federal authorities”.

“Largely this is a political statement that we don’t support the concept of sanctuary entities”, county supervisor Karl Rodefer said.

Republicans hold a significant edge in the area, and voters there chose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by a wide margin.

In rallying against the measure, dissenters throughout California have aligned themselves with Mr Trump Sanctuary jurisdictions are a favourite target for the president, who derides them for flaunting the law - California, and Governor Jerry Brown, in particular.

During a visit to southern San Diego County earlier this year to survey border wall prototypes, Mr Trump assailed California for putting “the entire nation at risk.”

“They’re the best friend of the criminal”, Mr Trump said. “That’s what exactly is happening. The criminals take refuge in these sanctuary cities and it’s very dangerous for our police and enforcement folks.”

Donald Trump: 'if you don’t have a wall system, we’re not going to have a country'

After attorney general Jeff Sessions announced the lawsuit against California, Mr Brown said the administration was “going to war” with California and suggested the challenge was a product of a White House “under siege” from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling.

“We know the Trump administration is full of liars”, Mr Brown told reporters.

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