President Donald Trump has been trumped by Martin Sheen in one of America’s wealthiest communities.
The upscale city of Malibu, California officially declared itself a sanctuary city last week in response to longtime resident Martin Sheen’s impassioned plea last December before the city council. Sheen seemed to have summoned his inner President Bartlet in his efforts to convince the city government to act.
President Bartlet, of course, is the fictional character Sheen played on Aaron Sorkin’s acclaimed TV series the West Wing (1999-2006).
Malibu is 92% white, but many of its wealthy residents depend on minority workers to care for their homes, children, stores and provide a wide range of other services. This declaration is largely an effort to offer a level of comfort to the workers, some of whom are in the U.S. illegally.
The resolution was introduced by Malibu Councilwoman Laura Rosenthal after she heard Sheen’s plea:
“When I reached to to some of the people at the schools and other people in the community, they told me people are scared,” Rosenthal told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s people coming into Malibu who may be undocumented. I wanted to send a clear message that we are here for you.”
Most of the other 400 or so sanctuary cities have large Hispanic populations, like Santa Ana and San Francisco. Malibu has about six percent Hispanic residents, but many workers commute tot he city each day to work.
This is not the first time that Sheen has led a fight to make Malibu a sanctuary city. Back in 1989, Sheen held the post of honorary Mayor of Malibu. At that time he helped pass a resolution making Malibu a sanctuary for “aliens and homeless,” as well a nuclear-free zone.
Sheen, who is 76-years-old, has a long history of activism, He has been arrested at least 66 times for civil disobedience over the years and has had a special place in his heart for Hispanics. His real name is Ramon Estevez, and he has never changed his last name legally. His parents were both immigrants. His father was from Spain and his mother was from Ireland.
Two of his sons are well-known actors. Emilio Estevez has kept the family name while his son Carlos changed his name to Charlie Sheen.
A 35-year-old gardener originally from Guatemala who commutes to work in Malibu each day told the L.A. Times he was thankful for Malibu’s new resolution: “I feel more safe. We can work without being worried. Who is going to take care of my kids if they deport me? What’s going to happen to them?”
He now has President Bartlet on his side.