LOS ALAMITOS, CA — One small town, one big statewide issue boiled down to a 4 to 1 vote in a City Hall flooded with hundreds of protesters.
The Los Alamitos City Council finalized its ordinance to opt out of California’s sanctuary state law.
Hours before the city council meeting that lasted into the evening, emotions were already flaring.
Pro-sanctuary groups outnumbered the conservative counter protestors..
Both sides came armed with megaphones, banners and sound systems.
Dressed in his trademark Make America Great Again gown, San Diego based-Filipino fashion designer Andre Soriano was among those rallying for the city to opt-out of the sanctuary ordinance.
“I came to America as legal. As a legal immigrant. I came here the right way. I am Filipino and I came here legally,” Soriano sid.
Since the council’s initial vote last month, residents in this town of less than 12,000 have mobilized.
About 1500 Asian residents live in Los Alamitos, and local Filipinos have been leading the sanctuary movement.
“Los Alamitos progressives, pro-sanctuary people did not know each other, but now we have an actually organization and we are working across Orange County and within the city to help defend sanctuary,” said Michelle Tio.
State officials have threatened to punish cities that try to opt out of the recently enacted SB-54, the California Values Act, that prohibits local law enforcement officials from working with federal immigration agents in deporting undocumented immigrants.
The actions of the Los Alamitos council goes beyond the 4-square mile large town, with several other cities debating over California’s sanctuary state bill. It sets the precedent of how those cities will move forward with their initiatives.