Resistance State: California in the Age of Trump
Between Sacramento and Washington D.C. sits the rest of the country, and a chasm. On immigration and taxes, guns and healthcare, cannabis and climate change, California is the federal government’s equal and opposite reaction. One year into President Trump’s first term, the push and pull continues—playing out under the Capitol dome, in the courts and on Twitter.
Ready for another year? Follow along here.
In the latest twist in the fight between California and the Trump administration, the head of federal immigration enforcement said he will send more officers to California if the state won’t enforce immigration laws now that its new “sanctuary” policy has taken effect.
Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thomas Homan told Fox News yesterday that “California better hold on tight. They are about to see a lot more special agents, a lot more deportation officers.” He also said that political leaders who implement sanctuary laws should be charged with crimes.
California’s new law took effect January 1, barring local and state law enforcement agencies from questioning people about their immigration status or holding them because of it. They are also unable to share information about undocumented immigrants with federal agencies unless they meet specific criteria such as having been convicted of certain serious crimes.
“If the politicians in California don’t want to protect their communities, then ICE will,” Homan said.
He also said he intends to go after cities with their own sanctuary policies.
“What they’ve done is force my officers to arrest dangerous criminals on their turf, in their homes, in their place of business rather than arresting them in the safety of a county jail,” Homan went on to say.
His comments were in response to Gov. Brown, who said that the law will provide some safety for undocumented immigrants who are living quietly and working hard in the state.
State Attorney General Xavier Becerra tweeted in response: “New year, old rhetoric from Washington. Here in California, we’ll stay the course and enforce our laws that protect our communities and make CA’s economy #1 in the nation.”
In Sacramento, Mayor Darrell Steinberg said his city would “redouble” its efforts to protect immigrants, adding that federal officials “know where to find me.”
Homan said he has asked the Department of Justice to analyze the federal government’s options and suggested withholding funding and filing charges against some political leaders for violating federal law.
The city of San Francisco and Becerra, on behalf of the state, filed suit in August against the Trump administration for threatening to withhold funds. They allege such treatment is unconstitutional.
A day after Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to the Trump administration’s request to beef up the National Guard in states along the Mexico border, fellow Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would not have made the same decision as governor.
But Newsom, who is the front-runner in the race to replace Brown as governor, put a large asterisk on his disagreement with Brown:
Brown announced Wednesday that he would accept federal funding to add 400 California National Guard members “to combat transnational crime.” But he laid out a long list of conditions in an agreement with federal authorities: The troops will not build a border wall or enforce immigration laws, and the arrangement is approved only until Sept. 30. Brown also specified that when it comes to the state’s National Guard, he is the “commander in chief.”
America’s Commander in Chief responded Thursday on Twitter: “Thank you Jerry, good move for the safety of our Country!”