California’s Senate President Kevin de Leon is playing a dangerous game of chicken with President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the state’s criminal aliens’ sanctuary status.
With his sanctuary state SB 54 bill, de Leon, to use his words, aims to “freeze out” Immigration and Customs Enforcement from California, proposes to limit assistance with ICE “to the fullest extent possible,” and wants to convert public schools, hospitals, courthouses and hospitals into no-go zones for federal immigration officials.
And de Leon, who is on record that half his family entered the U.S. illegally, then committed identity theft to get and keep jobs, charged Trump and Sessions as being sympathetic with white nationalists’ principles. According to de Leon, the Trump administration has engaged in unconstitutional “constant and systematic targeting” of California’s diverse cities. De Leon promised to lead California’s resistance to DOJ threats to withhold up to $20 million in grant funding.
De Leon, who represents Los Angeles in the California Assembly, is one of Trump’s most outspoken critics. But Los Angeles is fraught with criminal aliens, and responsible elected officials should endorse and encourage, not demonize, efforts to remove dangerous hardcore felons.
While de Leon and others in the California Assembly rail against Trump, a recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement action in Los Angeles underlined the urgency of deporting felony re-entries, fugitives from justice, and other unlawful criminals. Over a five-day ICE Enforcement Removal Operation, officers arrested 188 illegal immigrants from 11 countries. Most had prior convictions for drug offenses, drunk driving, and sex crimes, including rape and sex with a minor. Since earlier this year when President Trump signed his executive order that prioritized deporting criminal aliens, ICE has arrested 41,000 offenders nationwide, a 40 percent increase over the same period last year.
In his statement, ICE representative David Marin said that taking the aliens off the street, and removing them from the U.S., makes “communities safer for everyone.” Marin’s logic is irrefutable. Everyone should agree that California is safer without cocaine traffickers and sex offenders. Yet, illogically, de Leon, many of his California Assembly colleagues, and the state’s sanctuary mayors in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento vow to battle President Trump to the end.
But de Leon is locked in a losing battle, one that might have more dire consequences if the Assembly passes, and Gov. Jerry Brown defiantly signs, SB 54. President Trump is on firm legal standing when it comes to cutting off funds to sanctuary cities, assuming the designated recipients fail to cooperate with immigration officials, and DOJ follows proper procedures. Headline stories reported on a U.S. district court’s sanctuary ruling last month and claimed the administration is barred from defunding noncompliant cities; those stories simply are wrong. Assuming the administration limits itself to three federal DOJ programs, money can be withheld. DOJ has set a June 30 deadline for sanctuaries to submit evidence that they’re compliant.
Penniless California can ill-afford to lose millions of dollars because of its misguided, illegal alien advocacy. Gov. Brown projects a $1.6 billion deficit by mid-summer, with state and local governments owing $1.3 trillion.
With California’s population at 39 million and with an estimated 3 million illegal immigrants, citizens and legal permanent residents outnumber aliens at a 13:1 ratio. Sacramento should be focused on making California a sanctuary for the deserving, not the criminal.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected] and on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.