SANTA ANA — Los Alamitos residents, workers, and a community organization filed a lawsuit today against the city alleging that its attempt to exempt itself from the California Values Act is unlawful, wastes taxpayer money, and threatens residents’ safety and well-being. They are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU Foundation of Southern California, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the law firm of Latham & Watkins.
The lawsuit comes two days after the Los Alamitos City Council voted to exempt the city from the California Values Act, which took effect on January 1. The act limits state and local officials’ involvement in federal deportation programs. Los Alamitos, a 4.3 square mile city with a population of 11,000, is the only jurisdiction in California to attempt to exempt itself from the law.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in Santa Ana Superior Court, include Los Alamitos Community United, an association committed to honoring and protecting community diversity; Reverend Samuel Pullen of the Community Congregational United Church of Christ of Los Alamitos; and attorney Henry J. Josefsberg who lives and works in the city.
"Los Alamitos’s illegal ordinance causes serious harm to my ability to serve my congregation," said Rev. Pullen. "Immigrant worshippers are less likely to come and participate in church services because of their fear that Los Alamitos and its law enforcement officials are helping deport members of our community."
"The City Council cannot appoint itself judge and jury and decide which state laws it will and will not follow," said Sameer Ahmed, staff attorney at the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. "That is clearly unlawful."
Jessica Karp Bansal, NDLON’s litigation director, said: "The Los Alamitos city council has launched a cowardly attack on immigrants. Their efforts may earn them points with President Trump and airtime on cable news. But residents of the city are fighting back, and the law is on their side."
The lawsuit asks that the court declare the Los Alamitos ordinance to be unlawful and order the city to comply with the California Values Act. It also asks for costs and legal fees to be paid by the city.
Read the lawsuit here: https://www.aclusocal.org/sites/default/files/aclu_socal_los_alamitos_20180418_complaint.pdf
A press conference featuring plaintiffs and attorneys will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Los Alamitos City Hall. Details here: https://www.aclusocal.org/en/press-releases/press-conference-plaintiffs-attorneys-speak-lawsuit-filed-against-los-alamitos