March 28 (UPI) -- The Board of Supervisors of Orange County -- the third-largest county in California -- voted unanimously to join a federal lawsuit against the state's 'sanctuary' laws aimed at protecting undocumented immigrants.
Orange County will now join a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that argues California's SB-54, which restricts local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in matters related to undocumented immigrants, is unconstitutional.
Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said her vote to join the federal lawsuit was to give the county more control "over undocumented immigrants with criminal backgrounds."
"Senate Bill 54 prohibits state and local police agencies from notifying federal officials before immigrants in their custody who may be subject to deportation are released," she said in a statement."I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not the unconstitutional actions of the State of California."
The 4-0 vote from the Republican-controlled Orange County Board of Supervisors follows actions by other Orange County leaders to resist SB 54. Earlier this month, the city council of Los Alamitos voted to "opt out" of the law and this week, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens decided to put release dates of county jail inmates online to the public, which allows ICE officials to get that information without having to go directly through local law enforcement.
The board's vote on Tuesday was heavily criticized by immigrant advocates.
"You are scapegoating our communities and this is shameful," Carlos Perea, a spokesman for Resilience OC, an immigrants' rights advocacy group told the board members, the Orange County Register reported.
"We condemn this hateful and violent action against all our immigrant communities," he added. "These actions seek to create fear and anxiety and only serve one purpose, to fulfill your political agenda and ambitions."