Trump rails against Calif. for its im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies

Imperial Valley Press - - LOCAL & REGION - A5

WASH­ING­TON (AP) — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Wed­nes­day ham­mered Cal­i­for­nia for its so-called sanc­tu­ary im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies, in what ap­peared to be his lat­est push to em­bolden his base lead­ing into the midterm elec­tions.

As the de­bate over im­mi­gra­tion heats up on Capi­tol Hill, Trump sur­rounded him­self with may­ors, sher­iffs and other lo­cal lead­ers from Cal­i­for­nia who op­pose the state’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies and who ap­plauded his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s hard-line ef­forts.

“This is your Repub­li­can re­sis­tance right here against what they’re do­ing in Cal­i­for­nia,” said Cal­i­for­nia Assem­bly­woman Melissa Me­len­dez, coopt­ing a term used by Democrats op­posed to Trump’s pres­i­dency. She, like oth­ers, said the pres­i­dent and his poli­cies were far more pop­u­lar in the state than peo­ple re­al­ize.

“It’s a cri­sis,” Me­len­dez said of the sit­u­a­tion.

They were re­spond­ing to leg­is­la­tion signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last year that bars po­lice from ask­ing peo­ple about their im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus or help­ing fed­eral agents with im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment. Jail of­fi­cials can trans­fer in­mates to fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties if they have been con­victed of one of about 800 crimes, mostly felonies, but not for mi­nor of­fenses.

Brown in­sists the leg­is­la­tion, which took ef­fect Jan. 1, doesn’t pre­vent fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials from do­ing their jobs. But the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has sued to re­verse it, call­ing the poli­cies un­con­sti­tu­tional and dan­ger­ous. Some coun­ties, in­clud­ing San Diego and Or­ange, have voted to sup­port the law­suit or passed their own anti-sanc­tu­ary res­o­lu­tions.

Repub­li­cans see back­lash to the law as a po­ten­tially gal­va­niz­ing is­sue dur­ing the midterm elec­tions, es­pe­cially with Trump’s anti-im­mi­grant base. And Trump has held nu­mer­ous events in re­cent months dur­ing which he’s drawn at­ten­tion to Cal­i­for­nia’s poli­cies.

Dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s ses­sion, Trump thanked the of­fi­cials, say­ing they had “bravely re­sisted Cal­i­for­nia’s deadly and un­con­sti­tu­tional sanc­tu­ary state laws.” He claimed those laws are forc­ing “the re­lease of il­le­gal im­mi­grant crim­i­nals, drug deal­ers, gang mem­bers and vi­o­lent preda­tors into your com­mu­ni­ties” and pro­vid­ing “safe har­bor to some of the most vi­cious and vi­o­lent of­fend­ers on earth.”

Trump also claimed op­po­si­tion to the poli­cies was grow­ing, in­sist­ing, “There’s a revo­lu­tion go­ing on in Cal­i­for­nia.” He re­ferred to some who cross the bor­der il­le­gally as “an­i­mals,” not peo­ple. Brown re­sponded on Twit­ter, writ­ing that Trump “is ly­ing on im­mi­gra­tion, ly­ing about crime and ly­ing about the laws of CA.” The Demo­cratic gov­er­nor added: “Fly­ing in a dozen Repub­li­can politi­cians to flat­ter him and praise his reck­less poli­cies changes noth­ing. We, the cit­i­zens of the fifth largest econ­omy in the world, are not im­pressed.”

The event came as top House Repub­li­cans worked to head off an at­tempt by party moderates to force roll calls on four im­mi­gra­tion bills. Repub­li­can lead­ers pri­vately warned GOP law­mak­ers Wed­nes­day that such a drive could dam­age the party’s prospects in the fall’s con­gres­sional elec­tions by dispir­it­ing con­ser­va­tive vot­ers, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple at the closed-door meet­ing.

The House lead­ers fear the win­ning leg­is­la­tion would be a com­pro­mise bill backed solidly by Democrats but op­posed by most Repub­li­cans, an out­come that could anger con­ser­va­tives, ac­cord­ing to Rep. Jeff Den­ham, R-Calif., a leader of the ef­fort to force the im­mi­gra­tion votes.

House Ma­jor­ity Leader Kevin Mc­Carthy, R-Calif., is­sued the warn­ing, said a sec­ond per­son who was in the room and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity to de­scribe the pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion. Asked about his re­marks, Mc­Carthy said his ob­jec­tion to the pro­ce­dure was that it would in ef­fect “turn the floor over” to Democrats.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the pe­ti­tion would be “a big mis­take” that would “dis­unify our ma­jor­ity.” He said the lead­ers were “work­ing with the ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

The moderates said later Wed­nes­day that House lead­ers were try­ing to end the im­mi­gra­tion stand­off and that they could soon see a spe­cific pro­posal on how to do that.

“We’re will­ing to see what this looks like,” said Rep. Car­los Curbelo, R-Fla., a leader of the law­mak­ers try­ing to force the House to ad­dress the is­sue. Con­ser­va­tives had their own ses­sion with party lead­ers and also sug­gested there had been move­ment, but of­fered no specifics.

Many of the leg­is­la­tors de­mand­ing ac­tion face po­ten­tially com­pet­i­tive re-elec­tion races in con­gres­sional dis­tricts with large num­bers of His­panic, sub­ur­ban or agri­cul­ture-in­dus­try vot­ers with pro-im­mi­gra­tion views.

Ear­lier this year, com­pet­ing bills aimed at pro­tect­ing young im­mi­grants and tough­en­ing bor­der se­cu­rity — in­clud­ing one backed by Trump — col­lapsed in the Se­nate.

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