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Sometimes even the Partisan isn’t exactly sure what to make of things. For instance, the city of Salinas’ announcement Tuesday that it will sue President Trump in an attempt to stop him from withholding federal dollars from sanctuary cities. Bold and brave stroke? Symbolic gesture? Attempt to divert attention from the city’s failure to give itself sanctuary status? Who knows? But our uncertainty doesn’t stop us from providing at least some elaboration, so here is the city’s news release on the topic:

City of Salinas to Sue Administration Over Sanctuary Cities Executive Order
Salinas, CA — The Salinas City Council today voted to take action in federal court against President Trump and the executive branch to prevent their implementation of the executive order against sanctuary cities.

The vote, taken in closed session to direct the City Attorney to initiate legal action, was unanimous. (Councilman Steve McShane was away on his honeymoon, however.)

At a press conference following the vote, City Attorney Chris Callihan explained the reason for the suit:

“It is my opinion that any attempt by the federal government to withhold federal funding from Salinas should it become a sanctuary city would be an unconstitutional act. Certainly, the federal government would disagree with that, which would likely result in the City losing federal funding while the City fought to protect itself and its residents, who have come to rely on that funding for essential programs, including programs for street and road repairs and firefighter positions. If the funding is lost, those programs are lost and all of Salinas’s residents end up suffering.

“Some Salinans and City Council members supported the idea of declaring Salinas a sanctuary city. I understand their position, but legally it would have no real effect in terms of protecting anyone in the community from the enforcement of federal immigration law by the federal government. The resolution would not prevent ICE, for example, from coming into Salinas and enforcing federal immigration law.

“The City Council has unanimously directed me to take action in federal court against the President and against the executive branch to prevent their implementation of the executive order against sanctuary cities.

“That is why we are taking direct action to protect the City of Salinas and all other cities from the unconstitutional acts of the President and his executive branch.

“Over the next few weeks we will prepare the appropriate papers and have them filed in the United States Federal District Court in San Jose. Salinas will lead the region on this issue and will stand up for all its residents. Salinas will join other cities and counties taking a stand on behalf of their residents, including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Santa Clara County.

“This will be a significant undertaking for the City of Salinas and for my office, but it is one that we think is critical for the safety and the security of Salinas and all its residents.”

Mayor Joe Gunter also spoke at the press conference. Full remarks as prepared for delivery by the Mayor and the City Attorney follow.

Remarks by City Attorney Chris Callihan

Thank you all for coming. To my knowledge, this is the first time the Salinas City Attorney’s Office has called a press conference, so that should give you some indication that this is a matter of some significance for the City.

Before I get started, I want to be sure to acknowledge Mayor Joe Gunter and City Manager Ray Corpuz. Everything we do at the City of Salinas is a team effort and I want to be sure to thank everyone their support. We have a solid team of leaders at the City of Salinas and today is a major expression of that leadership.

For several weeks now we have been discussing and debating the issue of sanctuary cities and the City of Salinas’s status as a sanctuary city. Most recently, the City Council considered the issue and heard from members of the public concerning the issue.

As you all know, the City Council-by a 4 to 3 vote-decided not to approve a Resolution that would have made Salinas a sanctuary city. That decision was not made lightly and occurred in the context of a concern over the risk that the City would lose federal funding, which amounts to an average of approximately $10 million per year. While we ultimately do not know what the federal government will do in response to sanctuary cities, the rhetoric has been clear and the executive order is clear.

As I indicated during the City Council’s discussion and consideration of the proposed Resolution, it is my opinion that any attempt by the federal government to withhold federal funding from Salinas should it become a sanctuary city would be an unconstitutional act. Certainly, the federal government would disagree with that, which would likely result in the City losing federal funding while the City fought to protect itself and its residents, who have come to rely on that funding for essential programs, including programs for street and road repairs and firefighter positions. If the funding is lost, those programs are lost and all of Salinas’s residents end up suffering.

Some Salinans and City Council members supported the idea of declaring Salinas a sanctuary city. I understand their position, but legally it would have no real effect in terms of protecting anyone in the community from the enforcement of federal immigration law by the federal government. The resolution would not prevent ICE, for example, from coming into Salinas and enforcing federal immigration law.

The City Council has directed me to take more substantial and meaningful action to protect not only the City’s federal funding, but to protect all the City’s residents.

The City Council has unanimously directed me to take action in federal court against the President and against the executive branch to prevent their implementation of the executive order against sanctuary cities.

That is why we are taking direct action to protect the City of Salinas and all other cities from the unconstitutional acts of the President and his executive branch.

Over the next few weeks we will prepare the appropriate papers and have them filed in the United States Federal District Court in San Jose. Salinas will lead the region on this issue and will stand up for all its residents. Salinas will join other cities and counties taking a stand on behalf of their residents, including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Santa Clara County.

This will be a significant undertaking for the City of Salinas and for my office, but it is one that we think is critical for the safety and the security of Salinas and all its residents.

I am proud to be standing alongside the City Council and the City Manager as we take this next step for the City of Salinas.

Before we open up for questions, I will turn over the podium to Mayor Gunter who has a few things to say on behalf of the City Council.

Remarks by Mayor Joe Gunter

Thank you everyone for attending.

As the City Attorney has said, the City Council has directed him and his team to take action in federal court against the President and his executive branch to protect the City of Salinas and its residents and its families.

The City Council did not take this issue lightly. There was a lot of discussion about the matter and the significance of this act.

And there has been a lot of discussion across the community about sanctuary cities. I understand and respect the opinion and depth of feeling of those who believe Salinas should declare sanctuary city status. And I share the desire to show our hard-working, law-abiding immigrant population that we support and value them. But in my opinion, approving a resolution declaring the City a sanctuary city would have only symbolic value… It would do nothing to protect the City’s residents or keep families together.

Directing the City Attorney to take legal action to protect the City’s right to be a sanctuary city and not risk its federal funding is more than symbolic. And it is supported by all of the City Council members. Councilmember McShane was unable to participate in the discussion because he is off on his honeymoon, but I know he was in support of this act and is standing by his colleagues on the City Council in taking it.

By this act, the City is seeking to protect not only the tens of millions of dollars in federal funding the City receives each year, but also to protect all its residents, regardless of their immigration status.

Salinas, like most of Monterey County, is dependent on the agricultural economy. That economy is supported by immigrant workers who may or may not be in this country legally. The City should not get into the middle of that discussion, since that is a matter for the federal government to handle. If those hard-working families are ripped apart and deported, not only will they suffer, but the local economy will suffer – all of us will suffer.

Three times now the City Council has requested the federal government take action to implement comprehensive immigration reform. We continue to believe that a hard look at this problem needs to be taken and long-term solutions to the immigration problem need to be determined. Anything short of that will not solve the problem.

The City of Salinas is and has been the regional leader in Monterey County and this is another example of the City of Salinas and the City Council stepping up and showing the City’s residents, and all of Monterey County, that Salinas will take action and will lead… lead to protect Salinas’ residents and Salinas’ families and Salinas’ funding and the economy that supports all of Monterey County.

Thank you.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Tim Smith March 7, 2017, 7:44 pm

    Its always about the money. And when the mayor says Salinas has “been the regional leader in Monterey County”, I’m not sure what he means. Neither good nor bad, but what exactly does that statement mean?

  • Luana Conley March 7, 2017, 7:46 pm

    Talk out of two sides of mouth. It appears they’re going with the “all lives matter” meme even though the lives under discussion here are those threatened the most by this inhumane administration.

    If the complaint is that the resolution wouldn’t protect them, then write one that will, and don’t make this endangered population wait for a Supreme Court decision before assuring their security.

    I never dreamt I would see this country stoop to anything resembling the shameful period of history that permitted the Japanese internment.

  • Mar3ie March 7, 2017, 9:15 pm

    I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on television but… If the city of Salinas is not a sanctuary city the federal courts will say the city has no standing and quickly throw it out. Case settled and fruitless exercise but it gives city lawyers something to do.

    Marie

    • Howard Scherr March 7, 2017, 10:57 pm

      Marie is right. If Salinas won’t take a bold stand, and decides to cower before Trump’s threats, why in the world do they think that Trump will cut their funding (which he’s not even legally empowered to do)? And if Trump has no reason to cut funding, why launch a preemptive legal strike against his doing it? Somebody’s wires are crossed in Salinas. And this is not the time to dither and panic, while undocumented Americans are under threat. Just look at the 500+ people who showed up in Seaside last week to support a sanctuary city resolution there. Trump will be gone eventually, like a bad dream–but Salinans, documented or otherwise, will remember who stood up for them when it counted.

      • Jane Haines March 9, 2017, 7:14 am

        The situation appears to mean the Feds will deprive Salinas of $10 million yearly of funding for street and road repairs, plus fire fighting positions, if Salinas interferes with flow of information to the INS. The reasoning seems to be that Section 9 of the Executive Order states: “the Attorney General and the Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with law, shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary.”  8 U.S.C. 1373 states: “Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, no person or agency may prohibit, or in any way restrict, a Federal, State, or local government entity from doing any of the following with respect to information regarding the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual:
        (1) Sending such information to, or requesting or receiving such information from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
        (2) Maintaining such information.
        (3) Exchanging such information with any other Federal, State, or local government entity.”

        • Luana Conley March 9, 2017, 11:44 am

          I think any one of the working people of Salinas is worth more than $10 million. Undocumented or “legal,” the Latino population is at risk of harassment or possible imprisonment for charges as petty as jaywalking. From some reports, I’ll wager the financial hit as people hide out in fear will cost more than $10 million in lost business and productivity to the City of Salinas.

          At some point a rational and compassionate person must admit the Law is an Ass when it hurts more than it helps. Slavery was legal once.

  • Jean March 8, 2017, 8:41 am

    Mar3ie identified one requirement, standing. In federal court, another is ripeness. Another is actual damage. Until a sanctuary city is penalized by the federal government by the withholding of federal funding the City otherwise would receive , the case is not ripe for adjudication.
    Trump’s hit so many roadblocks on national security and health care, it could be a while before this becomes a priority.

  • bill leone March 10, 2017, 9:35 am

    David, on this issue, you & Dan Turner are in Perfect agreement. This seems rather odd to me.

  • ENRIQUE MENDEZ FLORES March 14, 2017, 8:37 pm

    Salinas gesture means nada!

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