California’s highest law enforcement official, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, echoed Golden State Democrats in their promise to wage battle against President Donald Trump to retain sanctuary policies that harbor illegal aliens in the state.
Becerra reacted on Monday to Trump’s threat to withhold federal funds if cities or the state as a whole refuses to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.“There is no state that provides more funding to the federal Treasury than the state of California,” said Becerra, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We have a right to receive some of that funding back.”
In a pre-Super Bowl Sunday interview, President Trump told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly that though he did not want to defund a state or city, he would consider withholding federal funds from the “out of control” state to get the state and cities within to get rid of sanctuary policies. “They breed crime. There’s a lot of problems. If we have to, we’ll defund.”
Becerra vowed to fight back “every way we can, to make sure that we get our fair share of money back.” He added he would fight against anyone’s attempts to “take away dollars that we have earned and are qualified for simply because we are unwilling to violate the Constitution under these defective executive orders.”
In December, State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Léon introduced Senate Bill 54, which would effectively instate statewide sanctuary city policies. The proposed law was directly billed as preemptively combatting any actions President Donald Trump might take on immigration policy from the SB 54 announcement.
The bill will also create “safe zones” throughout the state by prohibiting immigration enforcement on public school, hospital, and courthouse premises” according to a statement from De Leon’s office announcing Sanctuary State Bill SB 54 in December.
Leading California Democrats recently retained the services of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to help the state fight expected legal battles against the Trump administration.
Democratic California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon defended the state against Trump’s “out of control” accusation on Monday with claims of several successes. He added, “The Assembly is poised this year to take on big issues affecting Californians – including housing, transportation and education. We’re not out of control, we’re focused on the work of the people.”
De Leon also painted the state as leading the nation in his own response, calling Trump’s threat to withhold funds unconstitutional:
States have a right to pursue their own public safety policies and no President with little knowledge of how a republic operates can change that. My legislation that the President attacked simply prevents federal commandeering of our resources and tax dollars to do the job of the federal government and does not impede the enforcement of federal immigration law.
SB 54 effectively bans state and local law enforcement, school police, and security departments from inquiring about an individual’s immigration status, complying with hold requests, such as those from federal immigration agencies, making arrests based on civil immigration warrants, allowing federal immigration authorities access to individuals in custody, and performing functions of an immigration officer.
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