California Leaders Opposed To Sanctuary Law Meet With Trump
San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar and Escondido Mayor Sam Abed Attended
City and county officials from across the state who oppose California's sanctuary-state law sat down with President Donald Trump Wednesday to voice their objections to the law, and they got a pep talk from the president who slammed the state for failing to crack down on illegal immigration.
The officials, including San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, hailed from counties and cities that have taken stances against the law, some by joining or filing briefs in support of a Trump administration lawsuit challenging it.
"Each of you has bravely resisted California's deadly and unconstitutional sanctuary state laws," Trump told the group gathered in Washington, D.C. "You've gone through a lot, too, although it's becoming quite popular what you're doing. A law that forces the release of illegal immigrant criminals, drug dealers, gang members and violent predators into your communities.
"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 sadistic criminals," Trump said.
Trump lashed out in particular at the Los Angeles Police Department, saying the agency in January "arrested an illegal immigrant from Mexico for drug possession."
"Instead of honoring the (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detainer, they set him free," Trump said. "Just a few weeks later, he was arrested again, this time for murder. So they arrested him, they had him, they let him go ... and he killed somebody. And it's happening more and more."
Trump did not give specifics about the case.
The president then listened as each of the officials attending the meeting praised the work his administration is doing to address illegal immigration and discussed their municipalities' efforts to challenge the sanctuary state law.
"The fact that we have this unsecured border is putting all of us at risk because we know that terrorists are coming in," San Juan Capistrano City Councilwoman Pam Patterson said.
Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar, whose city's move to officially oppose the law sparked other conservative-leaning cities and municipalities to do the same, also hailed Trump's efforts and went so far as to ask for help fending off a lawsuit by the ACLU.
RELATED: Gaspar Defends San Diego County Sanctuary Vote, But Local Dems Lash Out
"Coming out first has a price to pay, and the ACLU has filed a lawsuit against us," Edgar said. "You know, we would really appreciate any direct or indirect funding, any sort of fiscal help you could provide for us."
Trump assured Edgar that "we're with you 100 percent" and said "if it's at all possible" he would like to help the city fight the lawsuit.
Los Alamitos in March approved an ordinance claiming an exemption from the sanctuary state law, which limits cooperation between local authorities and federal immigration officials.
The ACLU sued, arguing the ordinance "authorizes local police officers and school officials, as well as other local officials, to disregard the terms of the Values Act and collaborate with immigration authorities. It is black-letter law that a locality cannot enact an ordinance that conflicts with state law — let alone one that, on its face, authorizes local officials to violate state law. A local ordinance is preempted by state law, and therefore invalid, when it `duplicates, contradicts or enters an area fully occupied by general law, either expressly or by legislative implication."'
RELATED: City Council Votes To Join Amicus Against Trump Sanctuary Lawsuit
Responding to the meeting, Gov. Jerry Brown wrote on his Twitter page 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."
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Department of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan are also expected to attend the meeting, according to the White House.
California leaders expected to attend the meeting with Trump are:
– House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield
– Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore
– Councilwoman Pam Patterson, of San Juan Capistrano
– Mayor Troy Edgar, city of Los Alamitos
– Mayor Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre, Barstow
– Mayor Natasha Johnson, Lake Elsinore
– Mayor Elaine Gennawey, Laguna Niguel
– Mayor Crystal Ruiz, San Jacinto
– Mayor Sam Abed, Escondido
– Mayor Pro Tem Warren Kusumoto, Los Alamitos
– Sheriff Adam Christianson, Stanislaus County
– Sheriff Margaret Mims, Fresno County
– Supervisor Michelle Steel, Orange County
– Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, San Diego County
– Deputy Sheriff Ray Grangoff, Orange County
– District Attorney Stacey Montgomery, Lassen County
>> This is KPBS Midday Edition, I am a Maureen Cavanaugh. San Diego County and supervisor congressional candidate Kristin Gaspar are at the White House today for meeting with President Trump. They are joining 16 other California Republican politicians who have expressed support for the administration's lawsuit against California sanctuary state laws. Both Kristin Gaspar and the other supervisor. I am joined with the editor Scott Shafer. Scott welcome. >> Thank you. >> What is the purpose? >> It's a little bit of policy and politics. Mostly politics I would say. As you said there is growing concern especially in the more conservative parts of California about California's sanctuary state law, we have seen the attorney general Jeff sessions go to Sacramento to allow the announced that he was in California and was at the border with the vice presidents, just I think last week. And clearly, there is a sincere opposition to this policy on the part of some local officials and law-enforcement folks. There's also the opportunity a politics that's why I think Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader is going to be at this meeting as well. He wants to hold onto his majority in the Republican led house. That is very much what this meeting is about as well. >> Does the administration and/or state Republicans, do they think they have a winning political message in opposing the states sanctuary laws? >> Well, it's not a winning message statewide. When it comes to issues like the dreamers, or the wall, it's sort of a vast consensus in California people opposing the wall, they support the dreamers but on century state, or local sanctuary laws, it's much more split down the middle, especially in places like the congressional district where Darrell Issa is retiring. Steve nights district up in Palmdale and I think they see that this issue of sanctuary state could be a wedge issue, both to drive up turnout and to enforce the Democrats who are running for those seats to a difficult position to take either alienating some of their Democratic bays or more of the moderate voters in the district so they see it as a good issue, locally not so much statewide. >> So from what I understand, in addition to President Trump Attorney General Jeff sessions, immigration and customs and enforcement leaders will be at this meeting? Is there anything at all substance to result from this meeting or is it all sort of a political showcase? >> Well, my guess is there will be talking about the policy about the lawsuit, that the Trump administration has filed against California. And then maybe turning that into talking points to make sure that everyone who opposes the sanctuary state law is more or less on the same page. And then probably to get an update from immigration, to see how these policies are going to be implemented at the border. Just to kind of update everybody and sort of consolidate this little coalition they've got going. >> I have been speaking with KQED's politics and government editor, Scott Shafer. Thank you. >> >> >> Not everyone has approved the vote to support the trumpet ministration lawsuit. This statement was released in reaction. I voted against the county joining the federal administration's lawsuit against the states California values act. As I have said before, I believe the problem lies in Washington DC we need leaders and both parties to finally come up with comprehensive immigration reform. And yesterday, in closed session in a San Diego city Council, they voted 5 to 2 in support of California sanctuary laws. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulkner says that he opposes the city Council vote, he released a statement which says, San Diego is one of the safest big cities in the country, with public safety policies that have worked under both Republican and Democratic administrations. We have no plans to change them.