On Monday night, Malibu City Council voted 3-2 to declare the seaside municipality as a “sanctuary city.”
City News Service reports that the issue had divided the city council for weeks, and that the fact that an estimated 80 Malibu public school students were either undocumented or had undocumented parents was a major factor in the council’s decision.
The term “sanctuary city” is widely understood as a municipality where local officials don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities. What that cooperation (or lack thereof) actually looks like varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; despite its ubiquity, the term doesn’t actually have any legal meaning. In January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order vowing to cut funding from sanctuary cities.
The city of Malibu receives less than $50,000 a year in federal funding, so the potential financial ramifications for the community are pretty minor, according to City News Service. For context, the average rental fee during peak season for a Malibu beach house is $100,000 a month.
Actor Martin Sheen (a.k.a. Jed Bartlett, the greatest president of our time) spoke at a Malibu council meeting in support of the resolution back in December.
“[W]e urge the council adopt a resolution declaring the City of Malibu a sanctuary city,” the actor told the council, according to the Malibu Times. We reached out to Sheen for comment about last night’s vote but did not immediately hear back.
Malibu Councilmember Rick Mullen was vehemently opposed to the resolution, and had previously stated that designating Malibu as a sanctuary city would “corrode our rule of law,” according to the Canyon News. On Monday, Mullen called the council’s sanctuary city vote “public relations propaganda.”
“If we were Poughkeepsie, New York, this would not make the evening news,” he said, according to ABC 7. And if you were Poughkeepsie, President Bartlett probably wouldn’t come to your city council meetings, but who’s counting?
This article originally appeared in the LAist.