California Democratic state senators are infuriated over numerous immigration mandates handed down by President Donald Trump Wednesday, and promise to fight back with a pair of laws designed to thwart any deportations.
One day after California Gov. Jerry Brown attacked Trump in his yearly address, saying “We will protect everybody,” seven of the state’s leading senators held a press conference in reaction to Trump’s anti-illegal immigration executive orders.
The new mandates include immediate construction of the border wall, increasing the number of Border Patrol and ICE agents by a total of 15,000, updating a list of offenses that would result in deportation and deputizing law enforcement to act as immigration agents.
“If the new president wants to wage a campaign of fear against innocent families, he can count us out,” said Senate Leader Pro Tem Kevin de Leon. “We will not spend a single cent nor lift a finger to aid these efforts.”
De Leon said the new laws will cause “police officers to leave their beats and stake out elementary schools when a mother is about to pick up her child” in order to enact deportations.
“When you have children crying, physically sick, that’s not healthy,” he said. “I don’t recall when Barack Obama got elected … a child who was physically sick and ill and cried. This is unhealthy for this nation and unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”
As a result, de Leon said senators have drafted two bills that he expects to pass on Tuesday: one which will prevent state and local tax dollars from being used to help ICE “destroy families and damage our economy” and a second that provides due process for all facing deportation. State law allows for immediate implementation.
Trump also mandated withdrawing federal funds from sanctuary cities and counties. California has several, most notably San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The senators vowed to use the legal services of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to fight this action.
With California producing 13 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, punishing the state would punish the nation, de Leon said.
“He was not elected king, this is not a monarchy,” he said. “When you have someone who is the most powerful position on earth withholding those dollars because he is not getting what he wants, we think it’s unconstitutional.”
To that end, Sen. Toni Atkins said the state has spent two decades creating one big community where Baja California is like an extension of California. The land and ports between San Diego, Tijuana and beyond is “one region of six million people” with an economic relationship that is part of the state’s economic stability.
“All of us have family or friends or people we know who have had to deal with [immigration] issues,” Atkins said.
Sen. Scott Wiener was more abrupt.
“This piece of garbage that came out of the White House today as part of the steady stream of hatred that comes from our own White House is just beyond the pale,” Wiener said.
But in the end, Trump — above anyone else — should realize that strict border enforcement is just flat out bad for the economy, echoed Sen. Ben Hueso, chairman of the Latino Caucus.
“Walls are a medieval concept that no longer work today,” Hueso said. “It delays them a few seconds, but if they want to cross, they can cross it easily. … This will cost billions and billions and stop no one. Why spend billions and billions on a wall that will do nothing other than erode a relationship with an ally?”