SAN DIEGO – A cross-section of San Diego County leaders will hold a news conference on Tuesday calling on the County Board of Supervisors to vote against joining the Trump administration’s lawsuit against the State of California. They will also provide the press with specific questions to pose to Supervisors in the week leading up to the April 17 vote.

On March 6, 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed a lawsuit targeting the landmark California Values Act (SB 54) and two additional laws that seek to protect the state’s immigrant and refugee communities from mass detention and deportation.

Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Kristin Gaspar, who is running for Congress, proposes to have San Diego County join the Trump administration’s lawsuit. She docketed the matter for a closed-door vote on April 17. While there will be limited opportunity for public comment prior to the vote, the public will not get to hear the Board’s deliberations.

Former San Diego Police Chief David Bejarano, who will not be able to attend the news conference but opposes the proposal to join the lawsuit, said:

“As the past president of the California Police Chief’s Association, SB 54 addresses significant public safety concerns, which is that California law enforcement should not be used to assist with mass immigration deportations. Furthermore, by continuing to allow local police to collaborate with federal law enforcement partners during criminal investigations, local agencies can focus on protecting everyone in our communities from violent and serious criminals”

Many county residents believe the lawsuit is an affront to the California values of fairness, inclusion and compassion. It is also a baseless assault on the state’s economy, public safety and worker rights. According to the American Immigration Council, undocumented immigrants contribute approximately $3.2 billion in state and local taxes. They are an integral part of some of the most important industries in San Diego and in all of California, including hospitality, construction and agriculture. Further, research studies demonstrate and law enforcement experts, such as Bejarano, agree that building trust with our immigrant communities is critical to public safety.

The public should know what information the Board of Supervisors is considering in its decision-making on this matter. For example:

  • What will be the anticipated impact on county revenues and resources if local law enforcement agencies are required to assist with mass detentions and deportations?
  • What will be the impact on public health and safety in San Diego County if immigrants are afraid to get medical help when they’re sick and law enforcement help when they are victims of crime?

At tomorrow’s press conference, leaders representing San Diego County’s business, environmental, faith, civil society and social justice communities will call on Gaspar to remove the divisive issue from the docket. They will also call on Gaspar’s fellow Supervisors to vote NOT to join the Trump lawsuit against the State of California should she decline to do so. Finally, they will raise specific questions that the media should ensure the Supervisors publicly answer before taking any action on this matter.

A cross section of concerned San Diegans will discuss Board Chairwoman Gaspar’s proposal to join the Trump administration’s lawsuit

Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 10:00 to 10:30 am

San Diego County Administration Center, Waterfront Park
1600 Pacific Hwy
San Diego, CA 92101

Ismahan Abdullahi; Director of Civic Engagement and Community, Partnerships for Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans
Peter Andersen; Steering Committee Member for the San Diego Sierra Club
David Bejarano*; former San Diego Police Chief
Norma Chavez-Peterson; Executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties
Bishop Terrell Fletcher; Pastor, Philanthropist, former NFL player
David Garcias; President SEIU 221
Verna Griffin-Tabor; CEO Center for Community Solutions
Ana Hernandez; SDSU Student and DACA recipient
Vilavanh Sanginthirath and Christiana Russell; Board Member and Member (respectively) of Business for Good

*David Bejarano will not attend the news conference but submitted a statement.



Video of the entire press conference is here.

Don’t side with Trump, Stand with California video is here.

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Call your supervisor at 619-432-6700.

Norma Chavez-Peterson: “… we are here together say to our County Board of Supervisor: do not side with Trump, Stand with us, San Diegans, Stand with California against the administration’s attack on California. We ask Chairwoman Gaspar, who is currently running for congress and docketed the item for April 17, pull the item off the agenda. We ask that our other Board of Supervisors visibly and vocally stand up with San Diegans and California and publicly declare their vote a no and join us in asking Chairwoman Gaspar to remove the item from the docket.”

Verna Griffin-Tabor: “I’m the CEO for the Center for Community Solutions. We’re the only rape crisis center for the City of San Diego and most of the County and we also offer healing and prevention for domestic violence. I’m here today because what we see on a daily basis, if the closed sessions goes forward could put women and children at risk. When local police officers and sheriff’s deputies act as deportation agents trust and confidence in law enforcement is eroded. If it is eroded people who have been raped and been victims of domestic violence may not call for help and increases the likelihood of harm or death… Many time survivors are brought to this country. They have every right to legal status but the perpetrators of violence use their legal status as a weapon, one more way of power and control. So, please Board of Supervisors hear our voice for the safety and wellbeing of our community and pull this item from the agenda next Tuesday.”

Pastor Terrell Fletcher: “We as a community of faith and Californians in general, we value family and we value the reality of a child being raised with his mom and dad and with his parents. … Families are an American value and our White House and their policies are threatening something that is very core to the greatness of America. … We implore our county leaders not to vote with these policies.”

Vilavanh Sanginthirath: “I launched my business to create opportunities for education, empowerment and entrepreneurship for our community members. I made this decision because I know first-hand the collective talents of all our people. From laborers to entrepreneurs and leading CEOs our economy is strong because we have embraced immigrants. In fact, I am the byproduct of first generation immigrant parents and there are hundreds and thousands of people like me who simply need an opportunity and a chance to make something of themselves.”

Christiana Russell: “Born and raised in Los Angeles, later moving to Arizona, where I graduated and worked for nearly 10 years in mental health and prevention education, I saw first-hand how an anti-immigrant policy also known as SB 1070 negatively impacted households, community relations and ultimately the economy… I am urging the supervisors to prioritize the health and well-being of our community over political rhetoric.”

David Garcias: “Statewide we represent over 700,000 workers and their families and SEIU is proud to have helped sponsor the act that protects immigrants and we want to make sure that we continue this fight to protect all workers. Workers should be treated equally no matter what their immigration status. California is the sixth largest economy in the world and it’s because we have embraced immigrants. And they are Californians just like all of us…We want to make sure the Board of Supervisors do not vote on this. … This is not a fight that our community wants.

Ismahan Abdullahi: “I stand here as a refugee who fled a civil war with my family with nothing but the clothes on our back. And like me, many refugee and immigrant families have endured hardship, and tragedies to flee to the shores of America. And with the hopes of starting a new life and be a part of the American dream. The American dream means something unique and powerful to a newcomer family beyond the aspirations of social mobility. The American dream also means freedom from harm, from fear, from violence, religious persecution and poverty. And it is a beacon of hope. San Diego County, we are blessed, is a multinational and a multicultural region with a vibrant refugee and immigrant population. But with an increasingly uncivil and fearful rhetoric that we’ve seen in public discourse as it relates to our newcomer families. We know that we must stand tall to ensure that our region’s immigrant and refugee families feel safe, feel valued and are included members of our shared community here in San Diego. San Diego County must be dedicated to being a world class county that is led by values and not a county that is governed by fear or alternative facts.

Nora Vargas (Southwestern College Governing Board Member: “I’m and immigrant and a voter and a governing board member for Southwestern College. I’m here on behalf of our students to stand with our students and with our immigrant communities and our families. Our students deserve to go to school without fear. Our students shouldn’t have to worry about being separated from their families and a place that they call home. Our students should be focused on their education and have a chance to be in a safe environment when they’re learning. That is why our Southwestern College trustees and educators supported the California Values Act. That is why San Diego County educators stand in support of the California Values Act. That is why we ask our board of supervisors should stand with us and with our students … and put them first.”



  • Critical industries to our state and local economy are already seeing the impacts of growing fear among our county residents. Many industries are reporting absenteeism or an inability to fill positions because people are afraid to go to work. In what ways will you, as a Supervisor, ensure that our regional economy and small businesses are not hurt should the Trump lawsuit prevail?


  • How will the County Board of Supervisor ensure that our immigrant families can continue to access and advocate for healthy living conditions for their children, clean air for their communities and for safe working standards?


  • The California Values Act seeks to restore and ensure that communities can trust their local law enforcement when they are reporting crime or witnesses to crime. Why would our County Supervisors join this lawsuit given the likelihood it will prove detrimental to our public safety?


  • How do mass detentions and deportations (of the county’s most vulnerable residents) align with the values of your faith?


  • Given that the California Values Act will help to ensure that all workers in the state are treated fairly and that industries critical to our state's economy are not unjustly targeted, why is the County Board of Supervisors considering joining the Trump administration’s attack on California’s workers and economy?


  • There are more refugee resettlement communities in San Diego County than almost anywhere else in the U.S. What are the implications of the Trump lawsuit for county residents displaced by war, violence, and religious persecution.


  • There are estimated 800,000 DACA recipients in the United States. More than 200,000 of us call California home, and 40,000 are your neighbors, classmates, co-workers here in San Diego County.  What is the Board of Supervisors plan for us should the Trump lawsuit succeed in overturning the California Values Act?