Paso Robles opts not to challenge sanctuary state law

Following spirited debate between community members over California’s sanctuary state law, the Paso Robles City Council decided Tuesday not to take a formal position supporting or opposing the controversial statute, despite offering some criticism of its immigration-friendly rules.

Senate Bill 54, which took effect on Jan. 1, prohibits state and local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities and inquiring about an individual’s immigration status. The Trump Administration is suing California over the law, and its lawsuit has generated a groundswell of support for anti-SB 54 efforts in Orange County, where several jurisdictions have taken formal stances against the law.

At an April 17 meeting, public commenters encouraged the Paso Robles council to take a stand against SB 54. The council continued the item until Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the council listened to at least a few hours of public comment in which speakers split for and against the sanctuary state law. City staff cautioned against joining the Trump Administration lawsuit or formally opposing SB 54.

After public comment, council members suggested SB 54 is flawed but said it is not the role of the city to fix it. The council voted 5-0 not to take a formal position on SB 54, opting instead to send a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown and state representatives raising issues with the law that could be fixed.