Anaheim City Council members turned down an effort by one of their colleagues Tuesday night to call on President Obama to stop deporting undocumented immigrants without serious criminal records.
“This is something I think goes much beyond supporting comprehensive immigration reform,” said Mayor Tom Tait.
The council voted 4-1, with Councilman Jordan Brandman opposing, to remove the deportation language from Brandman’s proposed resolution.
Instead, the council unanimously approved a version that reiterates the council’s earlier call for sweeping immigration reform.
President Obama has said he lacks the legal authority to end deportations.
“It really is just kind of symbolic,” said Tait, because the president “has sworn an oath to uphold the law.”
Brandman said he introduced the proposed resolution so that undocumented immigrants “would not have to live in fear and in the shadows of being deported.”
“They are in search of a better life for themselves and their families,” he added.
Brandman told the Los Angeles Times that his proposal was prompted by a request from labor groups such as Teamsters Local 952, the Service Employees International Union, and Justice for Janitors.
All council member said they want to see comprehensive immigration reform.
“We need to have Congress change those laws,” said Councilwoman Gail Eastman. “It’s appalling that we break families up when they’re law-abiding families.”
The move would have followed in the footsteps of Los Angeles, whose City Council issued its own call in December to end deportations.
Brandman’s proposed resolution read, in part:
The City Council of the City of Anaheim … urges President Barack Obama and the federal government to protect our families from destructive and needless immigration deportations by suspending further deportations and expanding the successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to those individuals with no serious criminal history.
President Obama was expected to make a plea for comprehensive immigration reform during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.