For California Sen. Kevin de León (D), the battle against President Trump’s immigration order isn’t business – it is personal.
De León, the current Senate president pro tempore, told the state Senate Public Safety Committee that half of his family could be rounded up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and deported because they are living in the U.S. illegally, and criminally.
“I can tell you, half of my family would be eligible for deportation under the executive order, because they got a false Social Security card, they got a false identification, they got a false driver’s license prior to us passing AB 60, they got a false green card,” De León said.
He rationalized family members carrying false ID by explaining “that’s what you need to survive, to work.”
As PJM reported, de León has sponsored legislation that would establish California as a “sanctuary state,” or as he put it, a “Wall of Justice.”
The Public Safety Committee approved de León’s “California Values Act” on Feb. 1. It is designed to prevent the use of state and local resources to aid federal immigration enforcement efforts.
De León has been an outspoken opponent of the Trump administration’s immigration policy and spoke out against the past week’s ICE raids that reportedly resulted in the arrests of 161 people in California.
De León quickly cranked up the volume on his dispute with the White House when word of the ICE raids spread through California last week. He accused ICE of mass roundups of illegal immigrants with little thought given to the severity of crimes they might have committed.
“There are reports that ICE today executed raids across Southern California. I have asked federal officials to disclose how many children, men, and women they have detained,” de León said last week.
“It is now clear the Trump administration is not concerned with public safety, they are only focused on ripping hard-working men, women, and children from their families and communities. Mass deportations will not make us safer, instead they will simply undermine our state’s economy,” he added.
PJM reported Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement that 680 people were arrested in all of the raids that took place in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York City.
“Of those arrested,” Kelley said, “approximately 75 percent were criminal aliens.” Kelly also said the raids were routine occurrences.
De León backed off the assertion that ICE agents were tearing families apart with “mass deportations.” But he did not step away from his opposition to the Trump administration’s immigration policy.
“Let me be clear, we want to work together to get violent felons out of our neighborhoods,” de León said. “However, we remain deeply concerned with the new administration’s recent decision to prioritize nearly every undocumented resident in California for deportation, and their apparent inability to accurately inform the public of their operations in a timely manner.”
Trump said in a pre-Super Bowl interview with Fox News that California was out of control and called the de León proposal to make California a sanctuary city “ridiculous,” saying sanctuary cities would “breed crime.”
He threatened to “defund” California if de León’s proposal became law.
“We will certainly not stand for sanctuary even cities, let alone states,” Trump said.
De León said Trump was trying to “weaponize” federal funding but added that the threat of the White House pulling federal funding might work with the other 49 states, but it didn’t scare California.
“Far from being out of control, California is creating jobs faster than any other state and immigrants are key to our economic prosperity,” de León said in a written statement. “We are an engine for the country’s innovation and job growth and our state annually pays more in federal taxes than it gets back. Our economy is the sixth largest in the world and 13 percent of the country’s GDP.”
Other Democrats said it was Trump that was out of control. Orange County Register columnist Susan Shelley agreed.
And she concurred with de Leon’s assertion that California could stand up to the Trump administration.
However, Shelley also warned that could leave de Leon — who is seen as a leading candidate for California’s next lieutenant governor, governor or even U.S. senator — with a new problem.
“Then California officials can explain to voters that they will continue to defy federal law — on principle — even if it means tax increases every year to pay for schools, roads and healthcare,” Shelley wrote. “We’ll see how that goes.”