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KPBS Midday Edition

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Discusses Priorities, DACA Program

House Democratic Caucus
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in an undated photo.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Discusses Priorities, DACA Program
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Discusses Priorities, DACA Program GUEST: Xavier Becerra, attorney general, California

Our top story, California attorney general Xavier Becerra spoke to business leaders Monday part of the chamber of governance good governor serious. They defended many of California's Governor Collis -- policies against Trump administration reform. The Attorney General spoke with us about his speech in San Diego after he returned to his office in Sacramento. Attorney General, welcome. You reaffirmed your support for the deferred action for childhood arrivals program or DACA even though its status under the Trump administration remains unclear . What can you as a state Attorney General due to protect this program? We continue to protect families in California who work hard and produce great results for our state. We will continue to make sure they feel the safety and comfort anyone does from having police and community folks trying to protect the safety of their neighborhood. We cannot do anything directly with regard to the immigration status and what the federal government decides to do with regard to the DACA program but we can make sure while they are under the DACA program, we do everything to make sure they are treated the way we would want to be treated. What are some of the main regional issues discussed at the meeting? Much centered around how we can make sure we continue to move forward creating jobs, keeping businesses here, creating a climate good for everyone. I think in San Diego, what we have seen is there's a continued growth in the economic sector, the engine that drives the economy and also there's concern that the political tensions we see in DC may upset at impact California's success. Did you get any question from business leaders here about who pays for the failure of the nuclear power plant and where the nuclear waste is stored, those are big issues.! I have been asked about the situation. I've had to refrain from making much comment because the Department of Justice represents the coastal commission. Therefore since that is part of this negotiation, I am restricted in what I can say with regards to the status of the nuclear waste and what will be done with it.! At your office is involved in one investigation into the California Public utilities commission, is that correct? Once again, we don't comment on any possible investigation whether there is one or what the results may be. It's interesting, a year ago, had I been a member of Congress, I would have given you very clear, concise responses. Now as the Attorney General, the attorney for most of our state agencies, I am in the position to have to say in this particular case, I cannot comment on where I would go or what I would do because I have to respect the interests of my clients. It frustrating. Also for me because I'm so accustomed to sing exactly how I feel. There are a number of San Diego to leave the state Attorney General office dropped the bill on oversight of the settlements. Putting that aside, how important do you think it is to maintain San Diego's confidence in what the state is doing to find justice? It is crucial for our state leaders to do everything to give people the confidence this is a great place to live. Certainly nuclear waste has to be a concern to anyone. Certainly to those who live close to where the power has been located. There is no doubt the people in San Diego just as in other parts of the state would like to see a result that lets them believe their kids have a future in San Diego or California. I am changing the subject. The issue of accountability over police shootings has been important. Assembly Bill 284 would fund a study conducted by your office into police shootings in the states and originally would have allowed your office to criminally investigate officer involved shootings but now you say that's a job that should be left up to local law were spent. Why do you feel that? As opposed to having estate investigator look into it looks I think there will be cases where the investigation should be done by entity other than local law enforcement. It will be appropriate for someone else, a more removed body to do the investigation. As the Attorney General, I have the power and authority to do those investigations right now. I believe closer to the location, to the venue where the incident occurs, the investigation resides, the better everyone is. It's tougher for someone in San Diego to believe they have a travel every day to Sacramento to seek justice from the Attorney General. Legislation as it stands would make sure the Attorney General has the authority to take a close examination of the last two years of police shooting incidences. Hopefully we figure out where to go to get to the root cause. From the time you took office, you have been gearing up to defense California from Trump demonstration policies that you believe immigrants in our healthcare system. You've hired more attorneys, what do you think -- what do you see as the biggest challenge in terms of demonstration policies? The most contentious parts will probably be trying to figure out where the Trump administration will go. He says one thing one moment and another thing in a moment. Rather than worrying about Washington DC, I will make sure California can continue to lean forward and I have the states back. If anyone tries to stop us, we don't have to worry about turning our heads back to see who's coming at us.! I have been speaking with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Thanks so much.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra spoke to San Diego business leaders Monday as part of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce's "Good Government" speaker series.

Becerra has taken on the role of defending many of California's government policies against Trump administration reforms on issues like immigration, health care and the environment.

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The attorney general spoke with KPBS Midday Edition Tuesday about his speech in San Diego and a wide range of other topics, including how he plans to help children who were brought to the U.S. illegally, an officer-involved shooting bill making it’s way through the legislature and the status of an investigation into the handling of the San Onofre settlement.

Q: What were some of the regional issues discussed at the regional chamber of commerce meeting?

A: Much of the discussion centered around how we could make sure that we could continue to move forward creating the jobs, keeping businesses here, creating a climate that is good for everyone. In San Diego, what we’ve seen is there’s a continued growth in the economic sector. But what we’re also seeing is that there is this concern that the political climate in Washington D.C. may impact California’s success with its economy.

Q: Did you get any questions about San Onofre? Because who pays for the failure of the nuclear power plant and where the nuclear waste is stored are very big issues here.

A: I’ve been asked about the situation with San Onofre, and I’ve had to refrain from making comment because right now the Department of Justice represents the Coastal Commission and therefore since the Coastal Commission is part of this negotiation I’m restricted in what I could say about the nuclear waste and what will be done with it.

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Q: Your office is involved into at least one investigation into the handling of the San Onofre settlement, is that right?

A: We don’t comment on any possible investigation, whether there is one or what the results might be.

Q: You recently reaffirmed your support for the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals program or DACA. Even though, its status under the Trump administration remains unclear. What can you, as a state attorney general, do to protect this program?

A: We continue to protect families in California who are working hard and producing great results for our state. We can’t do anything directly in regard to the immigration status and what the federal government decides to do with the DACA program, but we can make sure while they are under the DACA program that we do everything we can to make sure that they are treated the way that we would want to be treated as Californians.

Q: The issue of accountability over police shootings has been important in San Diego, as it is around the state. Assembly Bill 284 would fund a study conducted by your office into police shootings in the state and originally it would have have allowed your office to criminally investigate officer-involved shootings. But now you say that is a job that should be left up to local law enforcement. Why do you feel that's important?

A: There will be cases where the investigation should be done by an entity other than the local law enforcement authorities. I have the authority to do those investigations right now. I do believe the closer to the location to the home to the venue where the incident occurs the better everyone is because it’s sure tougher for someone in San Diego to believe they are going to have to travel everyday to Sacramento to seek justice from the attorney general. The legislation, as it stands, would make sure that the attorney general to take a close examination of the last two years of police shootings. And hopefully, what we’ll glean is the fact of where we go to get to the root cause of this and do things the right way.

Q: From the time you took office, you have been gearing up to defend California from Trump administration policies that you believe threaten immigrants, our health care system, our fair share of federal funding, and so on. You've opened an office in DC, hired more attorneys. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing California in terms of Trump administration policies?

A: I think the most contentious part about the dealings with Washington D.C. will be trying to figure out where exactly the Trump administration is really going to go. Because he says one thing one moment, another thing another moment. Rather than worry about Washington D.C. I’m going to make sure California can continue to lean forward and I’ve got the state’s back.