Huntington Beach Mayor Disagrees With California's Sanctuary Law Nearly a dozen local governments in California have voted to oppose that state's sanctuary measure. NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks to Mayor Mike Posey of Huntington Beach.
NPR logo

Huntington Beach Mayor Disagrees With California's Sanctuary Law

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/600616583/600616584" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Huntington Beach Mayor Disagrees With California's Sanctuary Law

Huntington Beach Mayor Disagrees With California's Sanctuary Law

Huntington Beach Mayor Disagrees With California's Sanctuary Law

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/600616583/600616584" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Nearly a dozen local governments in California have voted to oppose that state's sanctuary measure. NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks to Mayor Mike Posey of Huntington Beach.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And now we're going to get another perspective on immigration. California has been in the crosshairs of the Trump administration's push against a sanctuary law there. Senate Bill 54 was passed last year, and it says that local law enforcement does not have to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. But not everyone in California is on board with the law. Escondido, Los Alamitos, Huntington Beach, Orange County - nearly a dozen local governments in California have voted to oppose that state's sanctuary legislation. Mike Posey is the Republican mayor of Huntington Beach, and he joins me now. Good morning.

MIKE POSEY: Good morning, Lulu. Yes, thanks for having me on. And you've teed up SB 54 fairly accurately. You said that it doesn't require law enforcement to communicate with the feds. And specifically, it precludes law enforcement from communicating with the feds except for the most dangerous felons. And that was our challenge. Our challenge was to challenge the constitutional overreach of Senate Bill 54 in precluding us from communicating voluntarily with the feds. This isn't an immigration issue. This is a public safety issue.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Has there been an increase in crime since the sanctuary law passed last year?

POSEY: I would say that - you know, the sanctuary law only became effective in January, so it would be virtually impossible to make a connection to a sanctuary state law and an increase in crime. But what you could draw a line to...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, if you say it's a public safety issue, that would imply that somehow these laws will affect public safety.

POSEY: It's also a constitutional overreach issue, which is the biggest issue. And that's what my agenda item called for. If we want to pick and choose constitutional amendments and say, we don't like this, we don't like that, what do you want to pick next? Do you want to pick the first amendment and say, we don't like this, and let's let states decide to toss that out?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Constitutional overreach - I'm curious. You know, you have joined Attorney General Jeff Sessions's federal lawsuit against the California sanctuary law. Politically, is this a winning issue for you - Orange County, a lean Democratic in the 2016 election?

POSEY: This isn't about politics. This is about constitutional overreach. And I think that protecting the constitution is really an interest to both sides of the aisle. And that's what I - that was my message. And my message to - I was interviewed by Spanish language news here. And they asked me what my message to the community was. And it was very simple. And I said that immigrants come to America for a variety of reasons - one of which is to seek the protections that the U.S. Constitution affords them. And that's what I'm fighting for. I'm fighting for constitutional protections for everybody.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What is the bigger picture here? Huntington Beach was one of the first cities to vote against the law. And now close to a dozen counties have followed suit. More have filed resolutions against the law. What's the goal? What would you like to see happen?

POSEY: Like I said, we're suing because of the constitutional overreach. And we're not done. Sacramento's absolutely out of control. There's a Democrat supermajority in the state legislature, the state Senate and in the governor's office. And they're chipping away and chipping away and chipping away at the rights of citizens.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What I'm hearing you say is that there is a Democratic supermajority in California and that, as a Republican, you feel that possibly suing the state is the only way to get your voice heard because the state is overwhelmingly Democratic.

POSEY: It is. And I can tell you from firsthand experience. I go to Sacramento two or three times a year. And with a Democrat supermajority in the state legislature, they don't even have to invite the Republicans to the table to negotiate and discuss. And we need checks and balances restored. I'm not saying that a Democrat - a Republican supermajority is a good idea. What I'm saying is checks and balances are a great idea. And that's what we have government for - for checks and balances.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Mike Posey is the mayor of Huntington Beach. Thank you so very much for joining us.

POSEY: Thank you, Lulu.

(SOUNDBITE OF ESBJORN SVENSSON TRIO'S "SOMEWHERE ELSE BEFORE")

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.