Rather than wait on the federal government to take action, a California grassroots effort is taking steps to defund sanctuary cities throughout the state. The papers were filed last week at the local level in Cudahy, a proclaimed sanctuary city in California.
Since President Trump’s inauguration, he has been steadily keeping the campaign promises he made to American voters. Administrative officials have repeatedly warned cities that funding will be withheld if their refusal to cooperate with federal immigration law continues.
As of now, there are literally hundreds of cities, counties, and a few states that refuse to conform to federal law concerning criminal residents. Much like Civil Rights Act violations in the 1960’s, some states are denying requests to cooperate with federal law, ignoring the statutes that require the detainment and removal of illegal immigrants.
However, California resident Joseph Turner is doing something about it. He’s been working to defund sanctuary cities for years.
Knowing that taxable revenue is vitally needed at the local level, he’s bringing the fight to the pocketbook of the city of Cudahy. On Tuesday, Turner filed the paperwork that will inaugurate the process of divesting the city of nearly 14 percent of their general revenue—a sizable portion of the budget—amounting to more than $1 million dollars.
As a larger effort to deny sanctuary cities federal monies, Turner filed the new initiative under Proposition 218, a utility tax repeal initiative. For around $200 and 62 signatures, Cudahy voters can cancel a large portion of the city’s operating revenue by instigating a legal vote that allows voter’s the ability to repeal the user utility tax.
Once the signature collecting begins, Turner and his group of volunteers will have 180 days to collect the required amount of voter support.
In 2015, the city of Cudahy voted to adopt a resolution that would list it as a “Sanctuary City for Immigrants.” Since their police force consists of contracted Los Angeles County Sheriff Department officials, the move dovetails with the policies of the state organization.
Attorney General Jeff Session called for a halt of all sanctuary policies in March while speaking about jurisdictions that have refused to honor ICE detainer requests, even though the charges included “convictions” such as rape, murder, and drug trafficking. However, that hasn’t stopped California from blatantly ignoring the law.
Citing the Obama administration’s notices that insisted on compliance with federal law issued years ago, Sessions also distributed letters to 10 major sanctuary cities in the U.S. with a direct warning, in April. Those that continue to refuse compliance will face a total loss of federal funds.
Turner formed the group American Children First after Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016. The website includes information about current efforts to defeat illegal immigration and other issues that often take too long to accomplish at the federal level.
Turner said, “We can no longer wait for the federal government to do its job. It is time for American patriots to stand up and defund sanctuary cities by working to repeal sources of tax revenues.”
Since California gives voters the right to circumvent their elected officials and put questions directly on the ballot, the initiative gives people the power to fight unjust taxes and other laws. Turner’s will be directed at utility user taxes.
By repealing the utility tax through a popular vote, city and county officials will begin to understand that giving illegals sanctuary is not an action supported by voters in the area. Losing a significant amount of revenue will let them know that constituents will not abide with the heavy, undefined costs of criminal residency.
Turner plans to file another initiative in Huntington Park, California after the one in Cudahy is successful. For that action, he’ll need approximately 176 signatures, but doesn’t think he’ll have a problem getting them. When the Huntington Beach council appointed illegal aliens to their city commission in 2015, the backlash was heard around the nation.
By depriving local cities of their much-needed utility funds, Turner believes that the eagerness to protect criminals will diminish, and cities that are thinking about ignoring federal law will reconsider their position. His efforts are an effective example of how to use legislation to further productive ends.
He would like to see his energies copied by other states, and he plans to continue these initiatives in other sanctuary cities in California. His actions a decade ago on illegal immigration were reproduced in other parts of the country and he is optimistic that this one will be too.