Trump heralds ‘revolution’ against California ‘sanctuary’ laws

US President Donald Trump examines a prototype of the wall he wants to build along the frontier with Mexico, during a visit to San Diego in March
AFP

Los Angeles (AFP) – San Diego County has joined what US President Donald Trump called on Wednesday a “revolution” against “sanctuary” laws in California that protect undocumented migrants.

In a closed-door vote, the Republican-controlled board of supervisors governing San Diego County, which borders Mexico, backed the Trump administration’s federal lawsuit challenging California legislation that restricts local police and businesses from cooperating with immigration authorities.

Trump took to Twitter to praise the news, writing: “There is a Revolution going on in California. Soooo many Sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept.”

The president has repeatedly tried to link immigration to crime but immigrant defenders say many are fleeing poverty and violence. Activists accuse authorities of rounding up longtime residents with families and jobs on minor infractions.

California’s “Jerry Brown is trying to back out of the National Guard at the Border, but the people of the State are not happy”, Trump added, referring to the state’s Democratic governor. “Want Security & Safety NOW!”

After rejecting the Trump administration’s initial proposals for a National Guard mission along the state’s border with Mexico earlier this week, Brown announced Wednesday that California would mobilize 400 National Guard soldiers in addition to the 250 already deployed.

The soldiers are tasked with combatting “criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers” and will be funded by the federal government, a statement from Brown’s office said.

– No immigration law enforcement –

The governor’s order “specifies that the California National Guard will not enforce immigration laws or participate in the construction of any new border barrier,” the statement said, referring to Trump’s pet project to build a wall on the US border with Mexico.

San Diego is California’s second most populous county behind Los Angeles.

Orange — a staunchly conservative county in a state with strong Democratic tendencies — voted three weeks ago to support the US Justice Department’s case.

On Monday, the small municipality of Los Alamitos in Orange County ratified a decision exempting the city from laws protecting undocumented immigrants. 

Another 10 cities have followed their lead since then by backing the federal challenge.

California is at the forefront of what opponents call the “Resistance” to Trump’s administration, with the heavily-Democratic state suing the federal government over numerous issues.

Several cities, including Los Angeles, are “sanctuary cities” that require local law enforcement agencies not to tell federal agents about residents’ legal status.

Trump this month said he would send thousands of National Guard troops to the southern border, where they could remain until the wall is constructed. 

The order would eventually see about 4,000 Guardsman along the border, which spans four US states.

So far about 960 have arrived, officials said. Texas has seen the biggest deployment, with 650 sent to the border, while Arizona has dispatched 250, and New Mexico about 60.

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