Last week, during an event ostensibly to address the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Donald Trump delivered a shameful tirade that was irrelevant to the victims, but also revealed that: 1) Trump does not understand California, 2) he thinks deporting immigrants is the only way to fight gangs, and 3) California needs his help in order to be safe.
Specifically, Trump chose this meeting to denounce a new state law that stops police from assisting immigration agents when a person has not broken state laws. Trump not only denounced this use of the U.S. Constitution, but threatened to stop enforcing immigration laws in the nation’s largest state, which he claimed would bring California “begging” for the return of federal agents.
Governor Jerry Brown delivered a swift, stern response, and U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein charged Trump with being obsessed about California, spreading “mean-spirited” and “patently false” lies against the state.
State Senate leader Kevin de León, who is challenging Feinstein for her Senate seat, suggested Trump wants to “tear apart hardworking mothers and fathers from their children,” and offered a one word reply to Trump’s “threat:” “Adios” (¡Adiós!)
Ordinary Californians echoed de León’s defiance. On Facebook pages for the California National Party, a pro-independence group, members welcomed the departure of ICE, and demanded that Trump return the money the federal government takes from state taxpayers for immigration enforcement. Moreover, at the Women’s March in Los Angeles last month, angry denunciations of Trump immigration policies were answered with overwhelming agreement from the 700,000 assembled.
When the “Sanctuary State” law was officially titled the “California Values Act,” the state loudly condemned federal immigration policies based on racism and xenophobia. Indeed, opening the border would create joyous scenes of reunion not seen since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Below is the full context of Trump’s remarks for reference.
Trump’s full remarks:
We’re getting no help from the state of California. I mean, frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you would have a crying mess like you’ve never seen in California. All I’d have to do is say, ICE and Border Patrol, let California alone. You’d be inundated — you would see crime like nobody has ever seen crime in this country. And yet we get no help from the state of California. They are 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 — you know because you’re working on it. And the protection of these horrible criminals in California, and other places, but in California. That if we ever pulled our ICE out and we ever said, “Hey, let California alone. Let them figure it out for themselves,” 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.
Hannah Miyamoto is a retired lawyer living in Oceanside, California.