Update: 8:15 p.m. Anaheim council rejects calling for stop to deportations
Officials in Orange County's biggest city turned down a proposal to call for a stop to deportations by the Obama administration.
Instead, council members reaffirmed their past stated support for comprehensive immigration reform at their meeting Tuesday night.
Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray made the amendment to council member Jordan Brandman's original resolution which asked the Obama administration to suspend deportations, while pushing for more immigrants to receive temporary legal status.
Mayor Tom Tait said he did not approve of Brandman's proposal.
“Asking the president to not enforce laws that he’s sworn an oath to uphold doesn’t do anything and I don’t think it’s right," Tait said.
Localities nationwide have been considering or have approved similar resolutions on immigration reform. The L.A. City Council voted in December to push the federal government "to suspend any further deportations of unauthorized individuals with no serious criminal history."
12:18 p.m.: Anaheim to vote on whether to call for stop to deportations, grant legal status to more immigrants
Officials in Orange County's biggest city will vote tonight on whether to call for a stop to "needless" deportations by the Obama administration, while pushing for more people to receive temporary legal status.
The Anaheim City Council will take up the proposed resolution at its 5 p.m. meeting.
The meeting starts before the State of the Union address at 6 p.m. PST, during which President Obama is expected to bring up immigration as a talking point.
Anaheim is part of a wave of cities that are considering or have approved similar resolutions on immigration reform. The L.A. City Council voted in December to push the federal government "to suspend any further deportations of unauthorized individuals with no serious criminal history."
Under Pres. Obama, the federal government has deported about 1.6 million immigrants between 2009 and 2012 — a higher rate than any other administration.
In addition to calling for a suspension to deportations, the Anaheim resolution as originally proposed would urge the expansion of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to include people with "no serious criminal history."
Currently, the program allows some immigrants brought to the US illegally as minors to apply to live and work with legal status for two years, after which status would have to be renewed.
Sameer Ashar, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, said immigrant rights activists have been working working to pressure localities around the country to pass these resolutions.
"There’s symbolic value in localities - especially elected officials in a locality - sending a message to the federal government, saying we disagree with your approach on immigration," said Ashar, director of the UCI's Immigrant Rights Clinic.
But, "unfortunately, it really doesn’t change the reality on the ground," Ashar said.
Ashar pointed out that unlike most other counties in the state, Orange County's sheriff's department has a 287(g) contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Under this contract, local law enforcement is authorized to carry out certain ICE duties, including immigration status checks.
Ashar added he was not surprised that Anaheim council members were considering taking a stand on immigration. The council has come under fire for not being representative of a city population that is over 50 percent Latino.
(The proposed resolution) is "part of that dynamic where the city council is attempting to show the residents that it cares about the issues that the bulk of the people in Anaheim care about," Ashar said .
The proposed Anaheim resolution, as follows, would put the Anaheim Council down on record as:
"...expressing support for comprehensive federal immigration reform and urging the 113th Congress to enact reforms that secure our borders, ensure economic strength and promote stronger communities, now further urging President 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 program to individuals with no serious criminal history."
With contributions by Nuran Altier.