Brett Haddock: S.B. 54 and Santa Clarita

Signal file photo of the state's Capitol building in Sacramento

There have been a great deal of discussions surrounding S.B. 54, what it means for Santa Clarita, and the position our city council should take on the matter. Both sides of the debate are claiming things to be factually true. In reality, the situation is more nuanced, and not nearly as black and white as many Facebook discussions would lead us to believe. Nor can either side necessarily claim the “mainstream view” on SB54/Sanctuary Cities. It’s a hotly debated topic, and is definitely split down the middle.

But I digress.

As a city, our current form of government and the way we handle law enforcement services makes it impossible for us to be an “anti-sanctuary city,” full stop. Even if everyone on the council agreed that we should not be a sanctuary city, no law we pass would make that enforceable. We would need to become a charter city – not necessarily a bad thing – and we would also need our own law enforcement agency – a whole different discussion.

That being said, S.B. 54 codifies policy that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has had in place for many years. I support law enforcement’s view on the matter, and the law changes nothing for us in Santa Clarita, or even in Los Angeles county. If there was an issue prior to S.B. 54 about law enforcement policy on immigration, I haven’t heard it.

Had Sheriff Jim McDonnell come out against the bill as it was signed, this would be a wholly different discussion. I am sure he would have iterated specific issues with it, just like he did during the nearly year long process to bring this law to fruition.

The City Council will decide on filing an amicus curiae brief on Tuesday. If they vote in favor, my hope is that they target specific tangible issues with the law as it was passed, and not merely on irreverent talking points.

As with any law, there is always room for improvement. I urge the council to focus on iterative improvements that can be made to ensure safety of all residents of Santa Clarita, and allow our local law enforcement to do their jobs effectively.

Brett Haddock is a candidate for Santa Clarita City Council.

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