The second largest city in San Diego County has voted to join the legal battle to prevent President Donald Trump from defunding sanctuary cities.
The City will join California's Santa Clara County in a suit filed against the president and his executive order, that would withhold federal funds from "sanctuary jurisdictions".
The Chula Vista City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday evening to approve participation in the suit, with Mike Diaz voting against the measure and John McCann abstaining.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reiterated in recent weeks that the Justice Department would deny grant money to cities that violate a federal law dealing with information-sharing among local police and federal authorities. Sessions said the cities are making their communities unsafe.
The decision comes on the heels of another related decision: last week, the City of Chula Vista resolved to declare itself a "welcoming city."
The decision was made after the Chula Vista City Council discussed an 18-page report regarding the city's policies on immigration enforcement, in response to increased immigration enforcement across the country.
The report outlined seven options, including:
- Informing the public better about existing city policies to ease concerns.
- Opposing federal or state laws that don't align with Chula Vista's policies on immigration enforcement.
- Becoming part of a network of cities already in place called "welcoming cities."
Becoming a "welcoming city" means Chula Vista isn't designating itself as a sanctuary city, which could limit cooperation with federal authorities. It's a more symbolic option that Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas supports.
But it does reaffirm support for current police policy.
According to Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy, the Chula Vista Police Department does not enforce immigration laws.
"We do not enforce federal laws by statute. It's not our job," Kennedy said. "Furthermore the department does not participate in operations with federal law enforcement agencies for the sole purpose of enforcing immigration laws."
Salas spoke with NBC 7 in January regarding President Donald Trump's executive order regarding sanctuary cities.
In part, it reads: "The Secretary has the authority to designate, in his discretion and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction."
According to Salas, President Trump does not have a full understanding of how executive orders impact local communities and how they will be implemented.
"We need to remind him he's not Putin and we're not Russia," she said in a previous interview.
During a meeting in May they'll affirm their support for SB54, the bill in the California legislature that on Monday moved the state closer to becoming a sanctuary state.