Malibu Becomes Sanctuary City for Immigrants in the Country Illegally

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The discussion inside Malibu City Hall over whether to become a sanctuary city last week bore the usual hallmarks of the heated national debate over illegal immigration.

A surfer carries his board in the fog at Surfrider Beach in Malibu, which has declared itself a sanctuary city for immigrants who are in the country illegally. (Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

While some residents praised the proposal, others blamed those who are in the country illegally for crime and called the move a thinly disguised rebuke of President Trump.

But it being Malibu, there was a celebrity twist. The idea was inspired by one of the town’s many famous residents: actor Martin Sheen. In December, he grabbed the lectern during a City Council meeting and — as if conjuring his inner President Josiah Bartlet from “The West Wing” — urged the city to become a sanctuary city.

Like many sanctuary city resolutions, Malibu’s is largely symbolic. Backers said the move, which passed on a 3-2 council vote, is a chance for Malibu’s privileged to stand up for the city’s vulnerable population.

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