The Escondido City Council voted Wednesday to support a lawsuit brought on by President Donald Trump’s administration against the state of California for its so-called "sanctuary laws."
City Council voted 4-1 in favor of the lawsuit in front of a packed house, making it the first city in San Diego County to do so.
Councilmember Olga Diaz, who represents District 3, was the dissenting vote.
The lawsuit takes aim at The California Values Act, a law passed last year designed to protect undocumented people in the state. Some say the law makes California a so-called “sanctuary state.”
The California Values Act prohibits local law enforcement officials throughout the state from asking about immigration status. It also bars local authorities from holding undocumented immigrants in jails until federal authorities can pick them up.
Trump administration lawyers are arguing that California can't make a law impeding immigration enforcement, and the council's vote is a show of support for that argument.
Two large groups of demonstrators, supporters of the lawsuit and supporters of sanctuary laws, faced off outside of the municipal building prior to the meeting which was elongated by nearly three hours of public comment before the vote was held.
Only 200 people were allowed into the meeting, 66 of whom signed up to give the City Council their two cents on the issue.
"You can't solve the immigration problem and you weren't elected to do that," Escondido resident Paul McNamara told the council.
Patricia Lyons agrees with many opponents of sanctuary laws who say they jeopardize safety.
"California has gone from the Golden State into a state of lawlessness. The sanctuary State Bill SB54 has reduced California to a national security threat," Lyons said.
While Escondido is not suing the state, its decision is being interpreted in many ways.
Some say the decision gives neighboring cities the courage to do the same, while others argue it is a reflection of the city's apparent lack of interest in its residents' values.
Escondido has had a history of controversial decisions regarding immigrants. In 2014, city planners denied a permit for temporary housing for undocumented immigrant children.
In 2006, the City of Escondido was sued over a city ordinance that would make it illegal to rent apartments to undocumented immigrants. Following the lawsuit filed by the ACLU and other community groups, the city agreed to abandon the plan to enforce the ordinance.