Oxnard residents discuss pros and cons of Sanctuary City declaration

By George Miller

It wasn’t on the agenda, but about 40 Oxnard residents were at the 2-28-17 Oxnard Council meeting to support that Oxnard should be a “Sanctuary City.”  What is A Sanctuary City? It is a jurisdiction that shields residents from law enforcement action to address the presence of illegal aliens.

Several dozen people came to the 2-28-17 Oxnard Council meeting to support Sanctuary City status. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us.

About 18 people spoke in favor of Oxnard declaring “Sanctuary City” status, requiring a vote by the council on a future agenda, while a handful warned against it.

Oxnard is already a de facto “Sanctuary City,” as was noted at the meeting by a resident, as it does not assist the federal govt. in any way to enforce federal immigration laws. The city is thought to have an unusually high number of illegal aliens due to high demand for migrant agricultural labor and a large existing Latino population, mostly of Mexican or Central American ancestry, which is a magnet for incoming migrants. Some were using the term “safe city,” which has the same connotation.

Deborah Baber Savalla was dressed and prepared to refute Sanctuary City status. Photo: George Miller/CitizensJournal.us.

In recent weeks, two council members, the newest one, Oscar Madrigal and Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez have expressed sanctuary city sentiments, along with a school board member and several other residents. The Ventura County Star took note of this recently. Someone apparently took pains to get a good turnout of advocates at the Tuesday, 2-28-17 Council Meeting.  Police Chief Whitney has stated that his department is not in the business of enforcing federal immigration laws. There have been both pro and con arguments in this publication.

Jesse Cavillo came out for sanctuary city, DACA, be welcoming to all and protect ag (agricultural) workers. Alan Deshelle (sp?) advocated a “safe city” resolution, care for others and noted  a change in the political climate. Josephine Celes invoked childrens’ nightmares,  family separation, threat of deportation and the serious health hazard resulting. She omitted the parents’ actions in bringing this about. Nancy Pederson advocated a sanctuary city and invoked “kids in tears.” Armando Vasquez, a regular Citizens Journal writer, said it is “the mandate of the people” and that the police shouldn’t work with INS. Carmen Ovasto said that families shouldn’t be split up. Celeste Gamino said she is an immigrant and became an RN. Sharon Lopez called for a sanctuary city, supporting all residents. She said we should support the police but their working with ICE would erode trust. Jorge Fandana, an ag worker, said ag is a big part of the economy, he does pay taxes, not all Oxnard money comes from the federal govt. and that he works 12 hrs days. Maribel Morales is an immigrant, has a 2 year old daughter and that they live in fear. She cited the 1954 “Operation Wetback,” when one million were deported.

Debra Baber Savalla pointed out that people here without visas or Citizenship are breaking the law and in some cases illegally taking from the government and Citizens. Woody Thomas said he loves strawberries, but that people who are law-abiding have nothing to worry about from INS.

Councilman Oscar Madrigal said he supports sanctuary cities. Mayor Pro-Tem Carmen Ramirez said it is sad that the country is so divided and that we should work with each other to bring it together. She said that there is misinformation, such as illegals don’t pay taxes. She said she practiced immigration law and that people “acquire equities and rights the moment they get here.” She also said that law enforcement has made it clear that they work on public safety, not enforcing federal law and that “‘immigrants’ (no distinction made with illegal ones) are part of the community.”

Councilman Bert Perello, from a lemon-farming family, said that the Bracero Program worked well and that “all colors picked.”  He added that agriculture firms are all about money and they also import lots of vegetables where that makes sense. He wrapped up by saying that Oxnard is in no position to forsake federal funding and that he hope other Council Members see the light.

Not discussed much at this meeting is that sanctuary cities are in violation of federal law, impact areas outside of the “sanctuary” zones, affecting the entire nation’s security, economy and health.


George Miller is Publisher of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard

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3 years ago

As supervisor John C. Zaragoza put it in a recent VCStar article:

“In Ventura County there are hundreds of immigrants and undocumented individuals.”

That many!


3 years ago

Did anyone address the REAL issue, protecting the criminal? It is not about law abiding immigrants, but about the undocumented gang members, drug dealers, murders, thieves etc. Did anyone at meeting acknowledge the amount of CRIME in Oxnard