California City Declares Itself Sanctuary City From Federal Overreach

The city of Oroville took a stand against strict pandemic measures.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 08: Protestors gather in Grand Park at a ‘March for Freedom’ rally demonstrating against the L.A. City Council’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city employees and contractors on November 8, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. The City Council has set a deadline of December 18 for all city employees and contractors to be vaccinated except for those who have religious or medical exemptions.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

A California city is declaring itself a sanctuary city from government overreach.

The city of Oroville in northern California, about 70 miles north of Sacramento, this month declared itself a “Constitutional Republic City” in order to shield residents from federal and state overreach.

The Oroville city council voted 6-1 for a resolution making the declaration on Nov. 2. Councilmember Krysi Riggs was the only “no” vote on the measure.

“What we are doing is protecting our citizens’ rights as much as we can on the local level,” said Oroville Vice Mayor Scott Thomson, who requested the measure,

“In a way, we are acting as a sanctuary city for our citizens and their rights and freedoms protected by the U.S. and state constitutions,” Thomson said. “Gavin Newsom modeled this type of declaration for us when he declared San Francisco a sanctuary city for what he believed to be overreach by the federal government against his citizens.”

“It’s just basically drawing the line,” Thompson said. “It’s not necessarily against one specific mandate, we’re not talking about one mandate that’s been pushing on us recently it’s a barrage of mandates.”

The resolution says the city will not enforce “any executive orders issued by the state of California or by the United States federal government that are overreaching or clearly violate our constitutionally protected rights.”

The move comes as both Governor Gavin Newsom and President Joe Biden attempt to enforce pandemic measures such as vaccine and mask mandates. Last month, Newsom announced a vaccine mandate for schools. The Los Angeles Times reported: “The mandate would take effect for grades 7 through 12 the semester following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the vaccine for children ages 12 and over, according to the governor’s office. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade would be phased in after the vaccine is formally approved for younger children.”

“The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps, and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19,” Newsom said when he announced the requirement.

In September, Biden announced that companies with 100 or more employees, which covers about 84 million workers, must require their workers to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or test negative for the virus once a week.

One council member worried that the city could lose federal funding over its defiance of federal mandates.

‘Will Oroville be able to stand alone and sustain itself?” Councilmember Janet Goodson asked, noting that the city has received about $4.8 million in COVID relief funds over the last two years.

However, city attorney Scott Huber assuaged those concerns, saying the “Constitutional Republic City” declaration can be changed at any time, so it does not threaten federal funding.

“I am quite certain that this would not result in any loss of funding for the city. In the event that it could in the future you could revise this and do what you will but this is not going to put it jeopardy any state or federal funding,” Huber told KRCR-TV.

The city drew inspiration from liberal California cities like San Francisco and Berkeley that have declared themselves sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants. In 2017, California declared itself a “sanctuary state,” which prohibited local and state agencies from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding immigrants in the country illegally who have committed misdemeanors.

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