California state Sen. Kevin de Leon envisions the Golden State becoming a “wall of justice” against what the Los Angeles Democrat is afraid will be the Trump administration’s “inhuman and over-reaching mass deportation policy.”
During his primary campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump talked about using a “massive (yet humane) deportation force” to round up as many as 11 million illegal aliens in the U.S. and ship them back to Mexico, or wherever they came from.
Now, the president-elect is only talking about deporting or jailing as many as 3 million aliens who illegally call the U.S. home.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” Trump told Lesley Stahl on CBS’ 60 Minutes.
But Sen. de Leon is still worried. And if he can’t change Trump’s mind from Sacramento, de Leon figures he can at least use California law to block or delay the coming White House agenda.
De Leon has introduced SB 54, the California Values Act. It would prevent the use of state and local public resources to aid the deportation efforts of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
“We will not stand by and let the federal government use our state and local agencies to separate mothers from their children,” de Leon said in a statement.
However, the California Values Act would not prevent state or local police from complying with a judicial warrant to move violent criminals into federal custody for immigration enforcement purposes.
That’s OK with San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. He said the requirement for a warrant protects the right to due process, which he described as “the bedrock of the U.S. criminal justice system.”
Gascon, a former San Francisco police chief and deputy police chief of Los Angeles, said SB 54 would also help local police fight crime.
“When victims of crime don’t come forward for fear of immigration consequences, the impact on public safety reaches far beyond immigrant communities,” he said.
Cynthia Buiza, executive director of the California Immigration Policy Center, complained of “ugly slurs of xenophobia” and railed against “Trump and other forces who seek to demonize and persecute immigrants” as she voiced her support for de Leon’s legislation.
“Getting law enforcement out of painful deportations, protecting the integrity of public spaces, and rejecting any registry which target Muslims will send a potent message to the nation and the world,” Buiza advocated.
Robin Hvidston, executive director of the group We the People Rising, has heard enough.
She told the Los Angeles Times President-elect Trump is not threatening to send ICE agents into schools to round up children or into supermarkets to collar mothers. Nor is he “demonizing” immigrants.
Hvidston said all President-elect Trump wants to do is to rid the U.S. of illegal immigrants who are also violent criminals.
“This is hysteria, whipping the community up with needless fear,” said Hvidston, who also pointed out that federal law “trumps” state law.
Senate Republican leader Jean Fuller said she was concerned by the potential “unintended consequences” of de Leon’s proposal, if only because “passions are still high after the last election.”
“We need to support our law enforcement and make sure that the legislature is not passing bills that would limit their ability to keep all Californians safe,” Fuller said in a statement.
But de Leon is not the only California politician concerned by Donald Trump’s immigration policy.
The Santa Ana City Council approved a resolution Dec. 6 to declare their community a “sanctuary city.”
The Orange County Register reported the resolution included prohibiting the use of city resources for immigration enforcement and “exercising maximum discretion in policing, protecting sensitive information and proving training for affected employees, officials and agents.”
Council members also voted to phase out a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement at Santa Ana Jail.
“A city with a contract with immigration enforcement is not a sanctuary city,” said S.G. Sarmiento, legislative director for the National Day Labor Organizing Network.
It is not just politicians and local bureaucrats who are working to block the president-elect before Trump can be Trump.
PJM reported former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, now the president of the University of California system, is worried about “several thousand” students in the DACA system being bused south to Mexico.
“They are undocumented, true, but they’re the kind of talent and brains that we want to have remain in our country. So something definitely needs to be worked out,” she told CNN.
Immigration Reform Law Institute Executive Director Dale Wilcox told LifeZette that California Democrats’ resistance to complying with federal immigration law is nothing new.
“All throughout the Obama years, California’s been engaging in laws and programs that completely go against the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which allows states to only mirror, not exceed, our national immigration laws,” Wilcox said.
“But with an Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions coming up,” Wilcox added, “a man who understands immigration law and the Constitution, they’ll hopefully be getting hit with a serious federal challenge.”