Santa Ana Set to Declare ‘Sanctuary City’ Status

The Santa Ana City Council members who have called for challenging Trump's immigration policies, and will be in office through 2018. From left: Michele Martinez, Vicente Sarmiento, Sal Tinajero, and David Benavides.

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Soon after Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election, a majority of council members in the heavily-immigrant city of Santa Ana made it clear that their city  will refuse to cooperate with deportations under Trump.

And now they’re slated to make it official.

A resolution up for approval on Tuesday calls immigration “the cornerstone” of America’s development and declares Santa Ana “a sanctuary for all its residents, regardless of their immigration status.”

The resolution goes on to say that the city “will not expend any funds, nor use its resources, including staff to administer federal immigration law which is the exclusive authority of the federal government.”

Specifically, if the proposal is approved, the city and its police department will not:

  • Enforce federal immigration law or take action against a person “solely because of his or her immigration status.”
  • Collect or disclose “sensitive information about residents,” such as immigration status, “except to the the extent necessary to provide the service in question or as required by law.”
  • Provide “federal authorities with non-publicly available information about any individual for immigration purposes,” unless the city is “contractually obligated” to do so.

The resolution also calls for all city employees to be trained about the new policy, and the city will look into creating “a commission or task force” of community members to monitor the city’s compliance.

Trump made cracking down on illegal immigration one of his central campaign promises, vowing to create a “deportation force” to remove all of the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States. Trump has softened his rhetoric since the election, but has made it clear that deportations will increase under his administration.

Santa Ana, which is home to more than 340,000 residents, is believed to have among the highest proportions of unauthorized immigrants of any American city its size or larger. More than 40 percent of the city’s adults are not citizens, many of them unauthorized.

If the resolution passes Tuesday, Santa Ana would be the first official sanctuary city in Orange County, and would join major cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and San Francisco in refusing to cooperate with deportations despite Trump’s vow to “cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities.”

By taking such a stance, Santa Ana could also be risking over $120 million in federal funding it’s slated to receive in the coming years, officials say.

The funding includes Section 8 public housing subsidies, Community Development Block Grants for affordable housing and anti-poverty programs, Department of Justice funding for police services, and money for transportation and park improvements.

The proposed resolution calls for city staff to monitor efforts to cut federal funding “as a result of the City’s policies to protect and defend its immigrant community,” and for staff “to take all actions necessary to protect such funding.”

It’s unclear what those actions would entail.

While the resolution calls for ending the use of city facilities for immigration enforcement, it does allow its jail to continue to be rented to the feds as an immigration detention facility.

It allows the city to be involved with federal immigration enforcement if “contractually obligated,” which would include the jail contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

About 150 immigration detainees are in the jail on any given day, and the current policy is to slowly phase out the ICE contract between now and 2020.

But in their first meeting after Trump’s election on Nov. 8, council members signaled a desire to end the contract more quickly. They’re slated to vote Tuesday on what to do with the contract. Options presented by staff include reducing immigration detainees to 128 at any given time, seeking proposals for a study into re-using the jail for other purposes, and any other actions sought by a majority of the council.

If passed by the council, the sanctuary city resolution would be signed by Mayor Miguel Pulido, who has strongly opposed illegal immigration in the past.

When he was first running for City Council in the 1980s, he described “the problem of illegal aliens” as an “epidemic,” and continued to oppose illegal immigration in the mid-1990s. His current position is unclear.

Tuesday’s council meeting starts at 5:45 p.m. at Santa Ana City Hall.

Nick Gerda covers county government and Santa Ana for Voice of OC. You can contact him at

  • Blu Soulstn

    All should be arrested

  • Rain Water Systems

    40% of Santa Ana residents are said to be illegal immigrants and that’s not extreme?

    It’s not Trump’s fault that the Democrats and Main some Republicans have been asleep at the switch for four decades or longer and then created such a mess if they want to tell us that can never be fixed sorry that’s not the way our world works and if every one of those people needs to get rounded up put in handcuffs and deported forcibly I’m okay with that.

  • Susan Schoner

    SHAME ON THE CITY OF SANTA ANA!! I WILL NO LONGER SHOP OR EAT IN SANTA ANA! SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR FEDERAL FUNDING! Not to mention it won’t help cuz they have names and addresses of all the DACA DAPA illegals and they WILL BE DEPORTED!

  • david5300

    What part of illegal don’t you understand, we owe you nothing, all you do is take. So take yourself back where ever you came from. Either you self deport or we do it for you. don’t like it , too bad. Kapish ?

  • david5300

    I do hope the citizens of the city realize what they are in for as I do hope that the city is denied ALL Federal funding . I can only imagine what the tax rate will be. It will be fun to watch the city squirm in it’s own excrement until they sort things out.
    Of course they will blame what they did on Trump, but everyone will know better.

  • FedUpWithSantaAnaPolitics

    It is a shame that the representatives on the city council have no clue what they are doing. These are the people we elected, well I didn’t anyway, but that is another story. The people housed in Santa Ana Jail on immigration charges are criminals. Drug dealers, rapist, child molesters, etc. Or has no-one heard of the Obama administrations Priority Enforcement Program ( ICE does not deal with the undocumented foreign national working at McDonalds, Burger King, Advanced Business Maintenance, Diversified Business Maintenance, Holiday Inn, Roadway Inn, Motel 6, etc. They really could care less about them. Besides, unless laws are passed to revise the Immigration and Nationality Act to remove due process from the law, any undocumented alien arrested for illegal presence in the US gets their day in court. This isn’t Cheech Marin getting picked up in LA and finding himself in TJ (“Born in East LA” People have no sense of legal process or the respect for authority. I’m sure they will take a hit on their fatties before they cast their votes. We have allowed our city to be taken over by self serving fools who look out for their friends and don’t care about their actual constituents, the legal residents who pay taxes.

  • Dr

    What an embarrassment to their city.

  • glenn wantz

    If this is to affect all of the residents of Santa Ana, then it should be voted on by the people of Santa Ana. Our city should not lose federal money . Because the city council does not abide by the law. Trump is after criminals that need to be deported. Not the family down the street.

  • Ddinox64

    Nothing more than a ploy to keep getting elected and stay in do nothing positions in government. As stated by another poster. If they used E-verify as it should be they would leave because they won’t be able to get jobs. But now these dopey liberals voted in recreational weed so we may need them to take the jobs of all the potheads when they lose them for not passing a drug test a work. Vicious circle.

    • Jacki Livingston

      Give me a break. Illegals are not taking the jobs of US citizens. They do the jobs that Americans are too lazy and pampered to do. It is simply ridiculous to act like this is some new thing. Unless all the spoiled ‘Muricans want to start paying ten bucks a pint for strawberries, they need to calm down and get a grip on reality.

      • LFOldTimer

        Aren’t you the same Jacki Livingston who commented previously and made it clear that you opposed illegal immigration and that the immigration laws should be obeyed?

        Many American citizens are willing to do work in construction, manufacturing, hospitality, maintenance, etc…. When I was a kid I used to make lots of spending money mowing lawns, washing neighbor’s cars, etc… Now many of those jobs that kids used to do (and learn the entrepreneurial spirit) have been taken by illegals. In fact, if you go to parts of the country where there are few illegal foreigners the businesses don’t have any problem finding labor (US citizens) to perform their tasks. So I challenge your claims.

        The government has had a work visa program for foreign agricultural workers for decades. None of us have a problem with foreigners coming into the country LEGALLY to work. We oppose ILLEGAL immigration. Why is that so hard to understand?

        And labor costs only account for about 10% of the retail price you pay in the store for fruit and vegetables. “Ten bucks a pint for strawberries” is a gross overestimate of what a pint of strawberries would cost without illegals picking the fruit. Beside, most of the harvesters are in the country legally on work visas.

        • Jacki Livingston

          I am sick of lazy whites who never bothered to educate themselves or learn tech blaming field workers and busboys for the failure of their lives. I’m tired of these people being exploited by business and then made scapegoats for all of the country’s problems. I’m sick of the racism. Trump isn’t draining swamps. His cabinet picks prove that. He is using the racist mental illness and redneck delusions of grandeur of scum, to gain power. It is disgraceful, and another reason why California has to unshackle itself from these idiots and secede.

          • LFOldTimer

            You and annomouse should get together, Jacki. You’d have a blast! lol.

            I’m sick of illegal foreigners who think they’re entitled to break into the country and steal jobs or obtain taxpayer funded benefits when millions of law-abiding foreigners have filled out their applications, paid their fees, taken their tests and wait for years for legal entry into the country. Those who promote fairness and civility would agree. Most liberals blow a gasket when a shopper cuts in front of them in line at the grocery store. ha. Those are the same ones who support illegal immigrants cutting in line before lawful immigrant applicants.

            You’ve written volumes in the comments about how unfairly you were treated by the county. So I’m sure you could empathize with lawful immigrant applicants who are put on hold for 10 years because the illegals cut in front of them.

            Trump is being criticized by the libs simply because he wants to restore order in America and enforce our immigration laws. The libs endorse criminality. The politicians who promote sanctuary cities endorse criminality. Watch them change their tune when Trump cuts their Federal funding. lol.

            California would never divorce Uncle Sugar. Somebody has to pay for all the education and medical care given to the illegals. You’ll see what I mean when Trump pulls the plug on the sanctuary cities. They’ll squeal like stuck hogs.

          • Jacki Livingston

            We pay for it. We contribute 26 billion dollars a year more than we spend.

            I want legal immigration, too. But to separate families, to have this ugly tone, when, in fact, most of our ancestors came here without being invited, is silly. And, illegal immigrants are not eligible to 99% of aid programs. You know that.

          • LFOldTimer

            Huh? Who are “we”? And where did you get the figure “26 billion dollars”?

            If you want legal immigration why would you excuse illegal immigration that only impedes lawful immigrants from coming into the country? We only have so much space and jobs available.

            I don’t know what “ancestors” you’re referring. My ancestors and those of most of the people I know came through Ellis Island. They were screened and allowed in the legal way. They didn’t break into the country.

            Illegal immigrants collect billions in benefits. Medical care, education and many other benefits. Especially for illegal mother and fathers who produced an American child (anchor baby). They can collect welfare and other benefits for themselves as well as for their child. And illegals collect ‘child tax credits” every year to the tune of billions of dollars. You should know that.

      • david5300

        Your arguement is invalid .

        • Jacki Livingston

          My argument is on point, and you cannot argue with it?

  • Manuel Delgadillo

    It should be noted that President Obama deported more his share illegal immigrants. Now for President Trump to deport 11 million is impossible. Sanctuary city or not, not much will change.

    • LFOldTimer

      E-Verify is on the table. If the labor laws are actually enforced those in the country illegally would self-deport.

      I do not know anyone who is opposed to LEGAL immigration as long as we have sufficient jobs available to those immigrants LEGALLY entering the country.

      This is where there seems to be a disconnect among people on this particular topic.

      LEGAL immigration is welcomed. ILLEGAL immigration is not. Just like in any other country.

      Why is it so hard to understand that concept?

      • Jacki Livingston

        I’m sure that Native American’s have been wondering that for centuries…

        • LFOldTimer


          • Jacki Livingston

            Irony…with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

      • Manuel Delgadillo

        True… or at least give them a process where applicants can or eventually become legal residents at a cost of course just like everyone else.

    • david5300

      Not so. turning them away at the boarder is not the same as deporting them. What about the tens of thousands of illegal obama ( spit ) has turned lose from prisons.?

      • LFOldTimer

        You mean the ones who are given notices to appear for their deportation hearings that never show up – and that nobody chases down? lol.

        What a farce.

        “Deporter-In-Chief” my foot!!! lol.

  • LFOldTimer

    Oh, one more thing:

    “While the resolution calls for ending the use of city facilities for immigration enforcement, it does allow its jail to continue to be rented to the feds as an immigration detention facility”

    So as long as the city makes money off the Feds it’s okay to house illegal foreigners for the Feds in the Santa Ana jail.

    Otherwise, if the city does not profit from holding illegals in their Santa Ana jail it’s prohibited?


    This is really getting stupid.

  • LFOldTimer

    Again, I just don’t understand the rationale.

    All elected representatives take a sworn oath when entering public office. The oath includes a sworn commitment to uphold the laws and to defend the Constitution.

    Sanctuary cities defy immigration law. They harbor those who break or live in violation of the law.

    I believe this is why Trump has indicated that he will withhold Federal funds from cities that refuse to cooperate with Federal immigration authorities who enforce the laws.

    If the Federal authorities came in contact with some burglar who ransacked your home and stole your valuables – and refused to cooperate with state authorities and turn him over for prosecution – how would you feel?

    So if someone could please provide me with a rational explanation how an elected official could defy the law and the Constitution after he or she took a sworn oath to uphold the laws and defend the Constitution – I would really appreciate it. I will keep an open mind to other viewpoints if they make sense. Maybe I’m missing something. Thanks.

    • Bob Stevens

      Because in the city of Santa Ana anything that hurts anyone of Hispanic descent is immediately racist no matter what the means or outcome. That’s why the dopes on the council will never pass any law, referendum or city ordinance that will ever cut funding to or harm in any way anyone who will claim to be Hispanic because the council will turn racist in the blink of an eye. To the council members, their blood ties or perceived cultural ties trump (funny coincidence) US law. Sad but true.

      • LFOldTimer

        In my mind the illegal immigration controversy is not even a racial issue, per se. But the liberals and the dishonest politicians want to drag you into that argument and turn it into a racial issue. It’s not. It’s a national sovereignty issue.

        It’s a dispute between countries, not races. Illegal immigration laws apply to all foreigners who break into or stay in the country illegally. All colors, all races, all creeds, both genders, all sexual orientations, and all religions. NO FOREIGNER should be exempt from the US immigration laws!

        But to illustrate what phony #^$(#^ the SA council members are ……. they want to forbid the SA jail from holding illegal foreigners UNLESS SA is paid by the Feds to hold the illegal foreigners ….. then it’s okay! ha. If they can make money off holding illegal foreigners in their jail it’s all good!!! ha.

        But each council member who votes to refuse to cooperate with the Feds by turning over illegal foreigners in their jail for deportation should resign his or her seat since they would be in violation of their sworn oaths to uphold the laws and defend the US Constitution.

        • Bob Stevens

          Can’t agree with all your posts but this one is dead on. Well done sir.

    • westminster_guy

      If people fear that any direct interaction with police will lead them (or a loved one) to deportation, they will be much less likely to call police when they need help, see something suspicious, are a victim of crime, etc. This makes community policing much more difficult.

      Given Trump’s campaign rhetoric about setting up a “deportation force” and going after all illegals, it is important for the city council to send a signal to these residents that they will be supported by their local representatives and don’t have to fear local police.

      • LFOldTimer

        That’s a flimsy nonsensical excuse, guy. You could use that excuse for any criminal on the run. Should we give amnesty to bank robbers, car thiefs, wife beaters, purse snatchers, pedophiles, embezzlers, drug smugglers and shoplifters because they would be much less likely to call the police and turn in other criminals? Of course not. So why should we make an exception for criminals who illegally break into the country and use resources that are paid for by our citizen taxpayers?

        If the City of Westminster protects illegal foreigners who reside in the city their city should have their Federal funds severed. City government is sworn to obey the laws – not to help those who violate the laws. Otherwise we have selective anarchists running the cities.

        • westminster_guy

          Well, I suppose if you equate the crime of being undocumented with being a pedophile or wife beater then I understand why you would see it as nonsensical. However, I think the offense is more akin to speeding or sharing a netflix account.

          • LFOldTimer

            Entering a country illegally, stealing jobs and identities and using resources financed by legal taxpayers are crimes that would mandate a jail sentence in most countries.

            My point that you circumvented is that it would be unheard of for people to give any criminals (to include those with traffic warrants) amnesty so that they would not be afraid to contact the police and report criminal activity.

            Somebody made that up that unique excuse up for illegal foreigners and expected the rest of us to buy it.

            We didn’t.

            And if the City of Westminster decides protects criminals (of any nature) from being held accountable for their Federal crimes it should lose it’s Federal funding. That’s a no-brainer. City officials are all sworn to uphold the laws – not to protect violators of the laws. We’re supposed to be a civilized society.

      • david5300

        Once this kicks in they will not have to be worried about the police, their neighbors will turn them in.

        • westminster_guy

          The article states that over 40% of residents aren’t citizens. You think neighbors are going to report each other?