MALIBU—The Malibu City Council voted 3-2 on Monday, March 13 to declare Malibu  a sanctuary city, where the city will not assist the federal government in enforcing immigration laws.

In mid-December, actor and Malibu resident Martin Sheen initially brought the item forward, which drew a  public attention and comment.

The issue divided the city for weeks, but the council majority indicated they were concerned by reports that 80 students in Malibu’s public schools are either in the country without legal permission or children of people in the country without legal permission.

During the City Council meeting, Councilwoman Laura Rosenthal referred to emails of support from residents and cited fears that were heightened by recent rumors of immigration raids throughout Los Angeles County and beyond.

“It is time to have the courage to show the people that come here and the people who live here and the young people who go to school here that they will be protected here,” said Rosenthal.

Councilman Rick Mullen argued against the measure, saying, “We are the Malibu City Council. Our area of responsibility is the City of Malibu. These are national laws we’re talking about, and in my opinion we’re venturing out of our scope of practice.”

The city receives less than $50,000 in federal funds, making the possible financial consequences minor, supporters have indicated.