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.
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.
Malibu is about 92% white and one of L.A. County’s wealthiest cities. Everyone agrees the city has workers who are not authorized to be in the United States, and they tend to serve the food at upscale eateries, clean the beachside mansions, look after children and keep the landscaping looking lush.