Local Democrats responded with cynicism Thursday to President Donald Trump’s threat to pull federal immigration agents out of California, with some saying they would welcome the move.
“We welcome ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and Border Patrol to let California alone,” Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo said. “I guarantee that families would sleep better at night knowing that the threat of having ICE agents at their schools, churches and place of employment has disappeared. People do not like living in fear. California has managed well enough on its own when it comes to immigration policy. We’d like to keep it that way.”
Speaking at a meeting in Washington, D.C., Trump lashed out at California leaders for what he called “lousy management” and failure to cooperate with an ICE crackdown on gangs, such as MS-13.
“I mean frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you would have a crime mess like you’ve never seen in California,” Trump said. “… You’d be inundated. You would see crime like no one’s ever seen in this country. And yet we get no help from the state of California.
“They’re doing a lousy management job, they have the highest taxes in the nation and they don’t know what’s happening out there. Frankly it’s a disgrace, the sanctuary city situation, the protection of these horrible criminals.”
Trump said if he ordered ICE agents out of the state, “in two months they’d be begging for us to come back. They would be begging. And you know what, I’m thinking about doing it.”
State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, said the state does cooperate with immigration agents — but not for mass deportations.
“If ICE and the president want to focus on dangerous criminals, we’re here to help,” he wrote on his Twitter page in response to Trump. “But if they just want to tear apart hardworking mothers and fathers from their children, then we say adios.”
State Attorney General Xavier Becerra echoed those remarks.
“We work with federal law enforcement daily,” he said. “We’re going after drug dealers, sex traffickers. We don’t stop doing that. My division of law enforcement is doing that right now. What we won’t do is change from being focused on public safety. We’re in the business of public safety, not deportation.”
Jennie Pasquarella, immigrant rights director of the ACLU of California, added, “Studies have shown that communities that limit cooperation with ICE agents are safer. Mr. President, we’d welcome an ICE-free California.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said Trump’s “obsession with our state is growing more outrageous by the day.”
“California is the sixth-largest economy in the world,” she said. “We’re the global hub of innovation and the largest farm state in the country. We’re creating jobs and driving the nation’s economy. At the same time, the state’s murder rate keeps falling and crime is at a historic low. The president’s attacks are not only mean-spirited, they’re patently false.”
–City News Service
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