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Westminster, CA: All-American City Rejects Sanctuary State

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

This past week, the United States witnessed the continued revival of the American Dream and the rule of law. Three more jurisdictions in Orange County, CA have opted out of SB 54, California’s unconstitutional sanctuary state law. Newport Beach voted unanimously to oppose the law. In the city of Orange, the fight over sanctuary state was more protracted. Councilman Fred Whitaker and his colleague Mark Murphy offered a more unique resolution against the law. Passing by a 3-2 vote, the resolution declared that the city of Orange would stay compliance, i.e. not comply, with SB 54 until the courts had resolved the legal conflict.


The victory against sanctuary state in Westminster, CA was the most engaging and gratifying.

This All-American City (an official designation it received in 1996 for the city’s “grassroots problem-solving” and success helping low-income and immigrant communities) is a welcoming, unique municipality nestled in the heart of Orange County. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, refugees with nothing left to lose but their lives fled the country in successive waves. Despite then Governor Jerry Brown’s efforts to block their entry, the Vietnamese arrived in California, including Westminster, which has the most Vietnamese-Americans per capita of any city in the United States.

Despite a growing Democratic voter base, the city retains its conservative character, which I learned about as an undergraduate at UC Irvine. I interviewed a few Vietnamese-Americans at the 2003 Westminster Tet Festival. Two of them registered as Republicans because the Democratic Party reminded them too much of the communists whom they had fled, and because Democrats only lavished attention on “the poor”, which was turning into political speak for “We need to take your money and give to those who have none”, i.e. wealth redistribution.

How prescient their concerns were about the Democratic Party, especially in connection with the who rallied in Westminster to save SB 54. This phalanx of progressives trying to turn Orange County into a blue bastion turned out in full force for the city’s April 11, 2018 council meeting. One source from our side reported that liberals, social justice warriors, and college activists had sounded the alarm--“All hands on deck!”---as more Orange County cities were rejecting SB 54.


Aside from one progressive activist named Tim Pham (watch our interview here, here, and here), most of the protesters chanted without regard for history or moral realities. “No borders, no wall! Sanctuary for all!” and “No hate, no fear! Immigrants are welcome here!” These pro-open border activists don’t understand that unfettered migration is anti-immigrant and anti-American. One naturalized citizen, Vuong Quang (see photo), a proud Trump supporter who opposes sanctuary policies, had to fend off outrageous abuse from the Orange County Democratic Vice-Chair Jeff LeTourneau (who flipped me off, then shook violently when I confronted him about it.) LeTourneau and another vocal activist called Quang a “traitor.” Pretty shameful and racist since Quang is of Vietnamese descent. Who said that people of a certain ethnic status have to think the same away?

One guy with a pin that read “Who would Jesus deport?” pressed his sign in my face and blocked another pro-Trump protester blaring on his bullhorn. Despite the liberal ruckus, Westminster residents came out to the meeting to show support for the rule of law and urge the city to follow through on their opposition to SB 54, too.

When the Westminster police allowed us to file into the chambers, the “In God We Trust” motto greeted the audience, along with the city seal reading “All American City.” Mayor Tri Ta, also an immigrant from Vietnam, with the assistance of Police chief Ralph Ornelas, brought the meeting to order. A surprising number of police officers guarded the room. The reason soon became apparent: State Senator Kevin De Leon, the infamous author of the Sanctuary State law, arrived. Loud boos overwhelmed him, just like in West Covina, CA when he appeared there to defend his bill.


After De Leon addressed the council, an impressive succession of pro-American activists and immigrants, including one from Great Britain, urged the city council to support the resolution opposing sanctuary state. In stark contrast, a number of college students, many of announced Vietnamese descent, clamored for the sanctuary state lawlessness. They were cheerleading for violent offenders and abject chaos, essentially, as they erroneously and inconsistently argued that SB 54 would protect “immigrants”. This is the braindead cultural Marxism which defines the Democratic Party of California.

Public comment lasted nearly four hours, and tensions flared throughout the meeting. The Councilmembers urged the members of the audience to respect everyone’s right to speak. When the city council offered their comments, sparks flew between Councilmembers Sergio Contreras and Margie Rice, the original author of the motion. Contreras was stalling, as he repeated the same question while snapping at his colleagues.

Rice referenced her support for the Constitution and love of country to explain why she brought forth the motion. Councilman Tyler Diep announced his concerns with SB 54 based on public safety, then read a letter from the California Sheriffs Association, which also opposes SB 54. Mayor Ta delivered the most moving remarks of the evening: “Our forefathers of this country, they fought for freedom.” He affirmed his compassion for immigrants but reminded the audience of the heart of the issue. “I would like to clarify that the Vietnamese boat people came legally.” Then he recounted the arduous process his family followed to become citizens. “We waited twelve years!”


Despite groans and race-baiting from detractors, Ta stood firm: “I took an oath of office. I took a pledge to defend the Constitution!” His speech made me so proud to be an American. The Westminster City Council affirmed their well-deserved status as an All-American City and voted 3-1 to reject SB 54 and stand with the rule of law, another victory to Make California Great Again. It was an impressive evening, and a sign of more victories to come in California against the unpopular, unconstitutional sanctuary state law.

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