California Gov. Jerry Brown accused President Donald Trump of “lying” about illegal immigration, as well as the public safety risk created by the Golden State’s recently enacted “sanctuary state” law.
Senate Bill 54 — the “California Values Act” — greatly limits the ability of state and local law enforcement officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
On Wednesday, Trump hosted a roundtable to discuss the impact of California’s sanctuary policies with multiple local officials whose governments have come out in opposition to the law.
Brown tweeted in response to that meeting that Trump “is lying on immigration, lying about crime and lying about the laws of CA.”
“Flying in a dozen Republican politicians to flatter him and praise his reckless policies changes nothing. We, the citizens of the fifth largest economy in the world, are not impressed,” he added.
? @realDonaldTrump is lying on immigration, lying about crime and lying about the laws of CA. Flying in a dozen Republican politicians to flatter him and praise his reckless policies changes nothing. We, the citizens of the fifth largest economy in the world, are not impressed.
— Jerry Brown (@JerryBrownGov) May 16, 2018
The Trump administration filed suit against the state of California in March challenging the constitutionality of SB 54. In its brief, the Justice Department noted the Constitution specifically grants authority over immigration to the federal government.
The DOJ is also relying on an Obama-era Supreme Court ruling striking down parts of an Arizona law which sought to impose stricter immigration enforcement measures than the federal government had in place.
“Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the state may not pursue policies that undermined federal law,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.
Fox News reported that multiple California counties and several local communities have joined the Trump administration’s suit challenging SB 54, the most prominent being San Diego County, which shares a border with Mexico, and Orange County, located just to the north of San Diego.
Officials from some of the localities were on hand for Trump’s Wednesday roundtable.
In kicking off the discussion, Trump said, “Each of you has bravely resisted California’s deadly and unconstitutional sanctuary state laws.”
“You’ve gone through a lot, too, although it’s becoming quite popular what you’re doing,” he continued.
“California’s law provides safe harbor to some of the most vicious and violent offenders on Earth, like MS-13 gang members putting innocent men, women, and children at the mercy of these sadistic criminals,” Trump stated. “But we’re moving them out of this country by the thousands.”
Everyone on the panel thanked Trump for his leadership in the arena of illegal immigration.
Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, a legal immigrant from Lebanon, told Trump, “When Jerry Brown cares more about illegal criminals than he cares about the Hispanic community and the American citizens, this is insanity, and this is unconstitutional.”
The mayor added, “When I swore to be a citizen, and again as mayor, I swore to defend the Constitution and to keep my community safe. This is personal to me. I’m going to work hard to make sure our community is safe.”
San Jacinto Mayor Crystal Ruiz said, “Our people are the ones hurting.”
“Sacramento is angry because they lost (the 2016 presidential) election,” she contended. “For God’s sake, get over it. They’re angry. And you know what? Now we’re more angry. They’re releasing these criminals, not by their houses … They’re releasing them by our houses.”
El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini said when he and fellow sheriffs went to Sacramento to discuss SB 54, a common response they heard from lawmakers is, “We know this is bad policy but it’s great politics.”
“That’s wrong,” the sheriff said, “Because this bill absolutely jeopardizes public safety in our communities.”
Fresno Country Sheriff Margaret Mims told Trump that under SB 54, cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement concerning a known MS-13 gang member is not permitted unless a certain threshold is met.
“You know, sheriffs in California are now in an untenable position when it comes to trying to figure out — now, we have state law, we have federal laws, and here we are stuck in the middle,” she related. “And that’s why I welcomed Attorney General Sessions’s lawsuit, because that will provide us the clarity that we need and direction that we need.”
“Enough is enough. We’re done,” Barstow Mayor Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre said of the sanctuary policy.
San Diego Board of Supervisor member Kristin Gaspar said, “I have a stack of 3,000 emails in my office. These are the emails that have come in — thank yous, people supporting what we’re doing” in opposing SB 54.
“And I have a tiny little stack of less than 50 where people are very upset with what we’re doing in San Diego County.”
Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steele told Trump that so far, nine California counties and more than 35 cities have now passed anti-sanctuary state ordinances or resolutions.
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