PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — City leaders in Pasadena declared their support for immigrants Monday night – but stopped short of declaring the home of the Rose Parade a sanctuary city.
Immigrant advocates urged council members to declare Pasadena a sanctuary city just hours after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the Department of Justice will withhold millions of dollars from cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration agents.
Since the election of President Donald Trump, Santa Ana and Malibu have joined the cities of Long Beach and Los Angeles as sanctuary cities.
Santa Ana Councilman Sal Tinajero said he viewed Sessions’ comments to reporters Monday as “highly political and a way to attempt to intimidate cities like ours.”
Tinajero said residents need not be overly concerned about the warnings. City officials will comply with federal government officials’ formal requests for information living in the country without legal permission, but they will not volunteer that information, Tinajero said.
Such a policy will ensure Santa Ana officials cannot be found in violation of federal law, Tinajero said.
“I tell our constituents to hold on tight because we’re going to fight it legally,” Tinajero said. “We think we have the upper hand here because we haven’t violated the law. We’re well within our rights to operate this way.”
Any attempt to take back grants would also be met with a lawsuit if necessary, Tinajero said.
California received about $50 million in federal crime fighting grants last year, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Pasadena city leaders reaffirmed their current resolution of not participating in federal immigration policy, to the disappointment of many who came to speak on behalf of immigrants.
“As a result of immigration policies issued from Washington that ICE comes in the middle of the night to arrest and take away Carlos Ortiz, a gardener from Pasadena…that’s not the way to treat a child of God, that’s not what we want our community to be,” a man who identified himself as a pastor told the council.