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ACLU files lawsuit against California city that agreed to cooperate with federal immigration policy

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The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the California city of Los Alamitos for agreeing to cooperate with federal immigration law, in defiance of the state. The lawsuit claimed that the Los Alamitos immigration policy was an unlawful waste of taxpayer money. (2015 file photo/John Moore/Getty Images)

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Alamitos, California, for agreeing to cooperate with federal immigration laws. The lawsuit claimed that the Los Alamitos immigration policy was an unlawful waste of taxpayer money.

The ACLU is arguing that local government does not have the right to ignore state law, while Los Alamitos argued that the state government of California does not have the right to ignore federal law.

Why is Los Alamitos is being sued?

Los Alamitos, a city of fewer than 12,000 about 20 miles southeast of Los Angeles, passed an ordinance in March that exempts the city from the California Values Act, SB 54. The California Values Act limits communication between state and local law enforcement and federal authorities. It also prevents state authorities from holding criminals who are in the country illegally for any longer than a citizen would be held for the same crime.

The Los Alamitos ordinance said that the California Voters Act “may be in direct conflict with federal laws and the Constitution of the United States” and that the city council “finds that it is impossible to honor our oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

What about the lawsuit?

The ACLU Foundation of Southern California, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the Latham & Watkins law firm all joined the ACLU in filing the lawsuit on Wednesday.

The lawsuit states that:

“California law does not allow local officials to unilaterally declare a state law unconstitutional and decline to follow it on that basis.”

But Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar seemed unfazed.

“My mind hasn’t changed,” Edgar said, according to The Orange County Register. “The state has overstepped its boundary on this very important constitutional issue.”

Edgar has created a GoFundMe campaign to cover the legal expenses of this lawsuit, instead of billing the city for it. The only no vote on the Los Alamitos ordinance, Councilman Mark Chirco, argued that the GoFundMe page was irresponsible.

“I don’t think government by GoFundMe is a responsible government,” he said on Monday.

As of the writing of this article, Edgar's GoFundMe campaign had raised more than $13,750 of a $100,000 goal.

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