LONG BEACH, CA — The immigration debate heated up this past week when President Trump made his push for an immigration reform bill.
Activists took to the heavily Pinoy-populated west side of Long Beach to call on the city to push through with its plan of designating itself a sanctuary city.
While the city council has backed state Senate Bill 54 to make California a sanctuary state, it has yet to decide it it will go the extra mile on a local level.
This protest comes as the Trump administration has begun defunding certain cities for sanctuary-type policies.
“The Trump administration, the federal government; they can threaten different cities but that isn’t going to stop people from protecting our immigrant communities,” says Alex Montances from the Filipino Migrant Center. “We’re not afraid. We’re not going to stop protecting our families and our loved ones here. They can take away the money from our cities, but they’re not going to take away the fight from the community.”
Adding fuel to their fire, President Trump’s push for the Raise Act which would curb the number of family based petitions, and would favor a merit based system for immigration.
“A lot of people are immigrants here, and a lot of people are under attack by the Trump administration. The deportations, Trump’s recent plans to limit family petitions, that affects the Filipino community and many immigrant communities around here. That’s why we’re here. We’re saying that we want sanctuary city for all immigrants, to protect immigrants.”
As they wait for solutions to the immigration issues, Filipino Republicans have also been mobilizing to stop the sanctuary movement, believing that sanctuary status would burden those areas.
“It has not gone yet for final approval. Brown’s going to have to sign that, yeah we have to recall him too if we could do it. We’re fighting like crazy against that. We have a lot of different groups trying to bring attention to that and push back,” said Rachel Gunther, Moms Against Sanctuary State.
“There is just a structural problem that something like a state law for sanctuary cities is just ludicrous, because it ignores all of the other issues out there,” said Marc Ang, from Californians for Making America Great Again.
California itself is going through the legislative process of becoming a sanctuary state, while some cities have shown support. Other cities and the Sheriff’s Union have shown opposition to the measure SB-54, which has passed the state assembly.
As the Trump administration continues to make a pitch for its Raise Act, and communities continue to challenge their local leaders, SB-54 is expected to be voted on in the state assembly later this month.