From the Editor

Sanctuary – An Issue That’s Not Going Away

By Victor Abalos

As if there isn’t enough a local policymaker has to manage – now add federal immigration policy.

While city councils or school districts and college trustees do not have jurisdiction to create immigration policy, nevertheless they have been thrust into the front lines of an increasingly rancorous debate.

And while Congress, which does have this responsibility, seems to be avoiding immigration reform, a bill that would extend “sanctuary city” protections for immigrants is moving through the CA Legislature.

This month we’re focusing exclusively on this issue – hopefully providing local policymakers with some policy and legal insight. It appears that many local jurisdictions believe they don’t have a choice but to take action. And this month, we are asking for your opinion through Survey Monkey. The questionnaire only take a couple of minutes and your anonymous responses could be very helpful to your colleagues.

The anxiety level in many communities and school districts is high. Students are afraid their parents might get deported so school boards are scrambling to respond. In the Southeast Cities, a group of activists armed with anti-immigrant rhetoric, have been disrupting city council meetings. Some of them are just armed.

Writer/Reporter Abelardo de la Peña has been working on a story for several months. And our Ethics Advisor, Ruben Duran, approaches the issue from a legal perspective. We are also featuring an Opinion Video Blog from Cudahy Council Member Cristian Markovich, who, along with his colleagues, has been dealing with the fallout of their sanctuary status for more than a year.

The state’s sanctuary bill may not make it through the legislature but the number of cities and education boards passing their own versions of it is increasing setting up what is sure to be a showdown between the locals and federal government.


Victor Abalos is Executive Director of the Southern California Latino Policy Center and Editor of the Latino Policy Connection.