The showdown over sanctuary city policies between California and the Trump administration continues to escalate.
After President Trump signed an executive order reinforcing current immigration regulations, politicians in our state’s government opted to counter that order by exploring ways to protect the non-citizens who are already here.
The cities and counties Trump is targeting have many tools to strike back. Among the most potent are high court decisions that have interpreted financial threats like the one Trump is now making as an unlawful intrusion on state’s rights.
…Democratic lawmakers in the state are trying to move fast to protect more vulnerable cities. Senate leader Kevin de Leon is championing a measure that would essentially make California a sanctuary state by prohibiting police anywhere within its borders from engaging in immigration law enforcement. Doing that could also give the state standing to sue the federal government as soon as it moves to punish a sanctuary city.
Another measure moving in the state Legislature would provide lawyers to immigrants detained by federal agents, which would force federal authorities to redirect enforcement resources to litigating tedious hearings. Lawmakers are also looking at banning federal agents from raiding workplaces and homes in search of people here illegally unless they have a warrant for a particular person. It’s a policy the administration could choose to ignore, but doing so would invite its own slog in court.
Additionally, California’s politicians are considering the withholding of financial transfers to the federal government. KPIX 5/San Fransisco reporter Melissa Caen has the details, and noted, “It seems the California State government is bracing for an all out war with the Trump administration.”
Officials are looking for money that flows through Sacramento to the federal government that could be used to offset the potential loss of billions of dollars’ worth of federal funds if President Trump makes good on his threat to punish cities and states that don’t cooperate with federal agents’ requests to turn over undocumented immigrants, a senior government source in Sacramento said.
The federal funds pay for a variety of state and local programs from law enforcement to homeless shelters.
“California could very well become an organized non-payer,” said Willie Brown, Jr, a former speaker of the state Assembly in an interview recorded Friday for KPIX 5’s Sunday morning news. “They could recommend non-compliance with the federal tax code.”
Interestingly, a poll from the very progressive University of California – Berkeley shows a super-majority of Californians want an end to sanctuary cities.
An IGS-UC Berkeley poll shows that 74 percent of Californians want sanctuary cities ended; 65 percent of Hispanics, 70 percent of independents, 73 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans. Recognizing strong public concern, California’s law enforcement organizations should speak out against being restricted from cooperating with federal authorities, and demand compliance to make our communities safer.
Furthermore, state officials who tout this idea point out that California is a “donor state” that sends in more money than it takes in federal funds for various entitlement programs. However, that is only one small pixel in the bigger financial picture.
California is currently $400 billion in debt from unfunded liabilities, from public pensions, retiree health care, and bonds. Additionally, state income tax receipts have significantly decreased.
The Democratic Party politicos really don’t face significant opposition within the state. I suspect that have underestimated the Trump administration’s ability to end the sanctuary cities that Californians don’t want anyway.