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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.

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UPDATE: RESOLUTION WAS APPROVED 4-0 WITH JOHN PHILLIPS ABSENT BUT HAVING EXPRESSED HIS SUPPORT

 

In the wake of the presidential effort to discourage Muslim immigration, the following resolution will be considered by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday at the county building on Alisal in Salinas.

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Whereas, on January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order limiting the ability of people to enter the United States based on national origin and religion;

Whereas, legal challenges and public protests have forced the Trump Administration to modify the Executive Order as to immigrants holding visas and green cards that have been legitimately issued for those now visiting, studying, and working in the United States;

Whereas, this Executive Order separates family members from one another and turns back refugees who had been admitted to the United States after years of process; preventing legal residents from re-entering the United States, in disregard of financial commitments such as leases on residences, job commitments, tuitions paid at United States institutions of higher learning;

Whereas, this Executive Order effectively institutes a ban on travel for non- citizens who are legally residing in the United States;

Whereas, there is no evidence to support the notion that this Executive Order will reduce the threat of terrorism and, in fact, may increase such threats to the United States; and

Whereas, the Administration’s demonstrated willingness to disregard legally-issued visas poses a threat to Monterey County’s economy which employs residents who are legally living in the United States, and to the County’s institutions of higher learning.

Now, therefore be it resolved, that the Board of Supervisors of Monterey County declares as follows:

1. This Executive Order is discriminatory. It unfairly targets a large group of immigrants and non-immigrants on the basis of their countries of origin, all of which are nations with a majority Muslim population. This is a major step towards implementing the stringent racial and religious profiling threatened by this Administration. The United States is a democratic nation, and ethnic and religious profiling are in stark contrast to the values and principles we hold.

2. This Executive Order is detrimental to the interests of Monterey County. Without a guarantee that visas will be honored, it will be more difficult for Monterey County businesses and institutions of higher learning to employ and enroll individuals from other countries;

3. This Executive Order imposes undue burden on members of our community. The people whose status in the United States could be reconsidered by this Executive Order are our fellow students, friends, colleagues, and members of our communities. The implementation of this Executive Order will tear families apart by restricting entry for family members who live outside of the US and limiting the ability to travel for those who reside and work in the US. These restrictions would be applied to nearly all individuals from certain countries, regardless of their immigration status or any other circumstances. This measure is disruptive to the lives of these immigrants, their families, and the communities of which they form an integral part. It is inhumane, ineffective, and un-American.

4. This Executive Order undermines the values of America. These bans, as proposed, have consequences that reach beyond the scope of national security. The unethical and discriminatory treatment of law-abiding, hard- working, and well-integrated immigrants fundamentally contravenes the founding principles of the United States.

We strongly denounce this Executive Order and urge our Congressional leaders to take all possible actions to prevent such destructive policies from being enacted.

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160_f_1249591_0wtu4etym9fpuhafuhrwgl9fu8eoyd-1Ran into a guy I know the other day. He’s one of the hardest-working persons I know. He works two jobs that keep him running six, maybe, seven days a week. He’s a leader of his Neighborhood Watch. He runs a men’s Bible study group at church.

He mentioned the next day was his birthday, and for the first time in many years he was taking a day off to spend with his family. He said he needed to take a day to try to relax, to relieve some of the pressure that’s building up inside.

He and his wife have three children. The oldest is a boy, 10 going on 11. He said his son hasn’t been able to sleep the past couple weeks. The boy is worried about what will happen next. He said he comes home from one of his jobs, usually after midnight, and finds his son with the light on in his room and tears in his eyes.

He said he has talked with people at his son’s elementary school. They told him there are many kids feeling the same way, so many that they might bring in professionals to talk with the anxious children.

“What do you think is going to happen?” he asked me.  It was anything but an idle question.

In his mid-40s, he has lived in the Salinas Valley since he was a teenager. He married here about a decade later. His three children are U.S. citizens. His wife, too, has the legal right to be here. He doesn’t.

That’s why his son is so worried. He is afraid his father will be taken away from him. Incoming president Donald Trump has made it clear that large-scale deportations of undocumented immigrants will be a key to his presidency.

But Trump, as is his style, hasn’t been specific. He called Mexicans rapists and criminals when he started his White House campaign, and almost grudgingly allowed that some may be good people.

Trump has spoken glowingly of the barbaric “Operation Wetback” deportations in the 1950, but most recently has talked about focusing on the expulsion of 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

Trump doesn’t differentiate among felonies, misdemeanors or parking tickets, but repeatedly told rally crowds that vicious immigrants are preying every night on the streets of the nation to commit horrible violence. No matter that others put the number of undocumented immigrants with criminal records at 1 million. This is Trump world, where feelings, not facts rule.

“Whatever happens isn’t going to happen right away,” I told him. “Have you ever been arrested?”

No, not even a parking ticket, he said. I told him that’s good. Of course, I don’t know if it’s good at all.

I struggled to answer his question, to try to calm him a little. But what the hell do I know about what happens next? I fell silent.

Trump’s electoral victory seems to have unleashed fresh waves of bigotry and ignorance upon the land. Hate crimes are up, swastikas are scrawled on more walls. Nazis wearing nice new clothes met over the weekend in Washington, D.C., to soak up all the old lies about white supremacy and publicly celebrate the new president.

The worried man broke the silence, saying there was a community meeting coming up that he planned to attend. Yes, I said, there already have been several in Salinas. People are getting organized, they are getting unified. Just the other day, I went on, about 1,000 students at Alisal High School over in Salinas marched in a show of unity and peaceful resistance.

We’d reached the point where we had nothing more to say on the subject. I was tired of my attempts to lift his spirits. I thought I sounded like some idiot in Germany, who told his neighbors that those men with the funny salute are fools and surely won’t last.

I asked about his birthday plans. His wife would cook the kids’ favorite tacos with green sauce. They’d go to church in the morning. With a smile, he added he’d already gotten a birthday card from his son, the one so worried that some day coming soon his father will be taken away.

The kid probably didn’t want to wait another day without giving him the card and its message of love. It’s never too early to do that, especially these days.

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