Rivals Newsom, Villaraigosa United Against Trump, Sessions: CA Won’t Be ‘Bullied’ into Changing ‘Sanctuary’ Laws

Villaraigosa and Newsom (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)
Reed Saxon / Associated Press

Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa, the top two California gubernatorial candidates, vowed to defend the state’s sanctuary policies for illegal immigrants after the Justice Department on Tuesday evening announced it would try to use the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause to strike down the Golden State’s “sanctuary” laws.

Though Newsom, the lieutenant governor, and Villaraigosa, the former Los Angeles mayor, are battling over single-payer health insurance, their vows to not “back down” and  never let President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions bully them on immigration represent how far to the left the state has lurched on immigration issues.

“This is California, and we’re not going to back down from defending our values and the immigrants who contribute so much to our state,” Villaraigosa said. “Our country and our state were built on the backs of immigrants, and we can’t turn our backs on them now.” He also tweeted out the same sentiment in Spanish.

Newsom, who has previously vowed to keep California a sanctuary state, claimed that sanctuary policies keep “communities safe and are consistent with the Constitution.”

The lieutenant governor said California had a message for Trump and Sessions: “We will not be bulled into accepting your ‘fear of everything’ agenda.”

Other California statewide leaders—including Governor Jerry Brown, who officially signed the sanctuary state legislation into law, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has vowed to sue businesses that help Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detain illegal immigrants, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)—also vowed to not let the Trump administration “bully” the Golden State.

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