By Jon Harris:
California is now in a battle not only to resist the anti-sanctuary city policies of the Trump administration but also to double down and become a sanctuary state. In fact, the California legislature has gone as far as to introduce bills to make the entire state a sanctuary for illegal aliens.
The bill, as you may have already imagined, is a strictly Democratic party move. The Democratic party has now clearly become the party of obstruction. They will oppose anything and everything the new Trump administration attempts to put forth. This blind opposition is dangerous for the country and shows just how weak and juvenile the Democratic party is.
Do we wonder that the home of Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, and Dianne Feinstein would be the place to try this idiotic idea? Since when has disregarding federal law or government initiative ever been correct? From the outside looking in, the “left coast” politicians have simply lost all common sense.
We saw protests at U.C. Berkeley in opposition to free speech. The students and others were opposed to the speaker and mainly opposed his freedom of expression. The problem with those troublesome articles of the Constitution is that they work for both sides. Free speech is not only allowed when you agree with the message or the messenger; free speech is more about when you do not agree. The protest and violence occurred on a campus that is supposed to be preparing our college students for the future. You wonder what this place is teaching.
Here are the bills currently working their way through the legislature in California:
Senate Bill 54, proposal championed by the leader of the state Senate, Kevin de Leon, would prevent local law enforcement agencies across the state “from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, report, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.”
Assembly Bill 3, introduced by Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, would create state-funded centers to train public defenders and other defense attorneys on immigration law.
Senate Bill 6, by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, would create a state program—much like a public defender program—for those facing deportation.
So not only does the Democratic California Legislature want to defy federal law, protect those who have broken the law, and make public safety much harder for law enforcement, but it also wants to use taxpayer money to pay for lawyers to sue on behalf of illegal immigrants. US citizens do not have the luxury of taxpayer money funding their fight against the government as California proposed it does for non-citizens. Of course, there is equal protection under the law, but it seems in California, some are more equal than others.
On Saturday, California Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill that will ban state authorities from transferring illegal immigrants they arrest to federal law enforcement for potential deportation if those illegal immigrants have not committed “serious crimes.”
Brown signed the “Trust Act” into law after he had vetoed similar legislation last year. Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and former Homeland Security secretary and current University of California president Janet Napolitano expressed their support.You would think the former governer of Arizona and former secretary of Homeland Security, Napolitano, would want to uphold the laws of the land and protect the expression of free speech. It appears the political partisanship has again taken precedence over the good of the country and protection of the Constitution.
California receives over 93 billion per year in federal funding. How much of that funding the Trump administration could withhold is unknown at this point. In an earlier article about sanctuary cities (OpsLens.com, January 18, 2017), I outlined the cases and decisions allowing the withholding of federal funds. Considering that the city of Sacremento alone could lose 1.2 billion per year, the numbers are not too hard to decipher. The Trump administration could withhold tens of billions of federal dollars from California if the state decided to defy the federal government and become a sanctuary state.
California lawmakers already are preparing for a legal brawl with President Trump’s administration—and they’ve got President Obama’s former top attorney in their corner. Top state Democratic lawmakers have former attorney general Eric Holder as outside counsel to advise the legislature on potential challenges with the Trump administration. He will lead a team from the Covington & Burling law firm, where he’s been working since leaving the Obama administration in 2015.
The anticipated cost of the wall ranges between 12 and 15 billion dollars, according to most estimates. That amount would cover the construction of the wall along the southern border other than where natural boundaries due to terrain preclude the construction. Those areas are practically impossible to traverse. Covering those areas would be accomplished by other means, which could include electronic sensors as well as aerial observation by drones (UAVs).
Homeland Security secretary, retired four-star Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, says the wall should take about two years to complete. Funding is the only issue at this point, as authority to build the wall was granted under the Secure Fence Act. Passed with bipartisan support, the Secure Fence Act authorizes the secretary of Homeland Security to take all actions the secretary determines necessary and appropriate to achieve and maintain operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States.
So where does the federal government find the money to build the wall? We may just be able to thank California for that. I am sure this is not what they had in mind when they started on this divisive tact to defy immigration laws. The partisan blindness that is California politics may, ironically, fund the building of the wall—something they vehemently oppose.
Remember, California saw the murder of Kate Steinle. California is home to Gov. Jerry Brown, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein. These stalwarts of opposition only see the world through partisan lenses. Both California senators voted against Kate’s Law.
If President Trump does move to withhold funds from California due to it becoming a sanctuary state, the funds will be more than enough to pay for the wall construction. In a way, California’s political efforts to fight President Trump at every opportunity could very well have the opposite effect and not what California is looking to achieve.
This battle is also damaging the Democratic party as a whole. The constant digging in of heels is an abandonment of good governance. What the public is seeing is a fundamental flaw. The Democratic party is fighting in every direction. They are becoming frantic and reaching farther and farther left in an effort to stay in the limelight. These continual battles with the Republicans have shown how there is no focus on doing what is right. The focus is only on doing something, anything, against the Republican president’s administration.
In my opinion, the Democratic party’s actions are childish and frankly asinine. The election is over. The sooner the Democratic Party can realize they came out holding the short end of the stick, the better. The constant obstructionism does neither side—and certainly not the American people—any service. This type of behavior is exactly why the public’s opinion of Congress is historically low. The wall goes far beyond party politics. The issues here are national security and the safety of the American people. Surely that must come before politics.
Jon Harris is an OpsLens contributor and former Army NCO, civilian law enforcement officer, and defense contractor with over 30 years in the law enforcement community. He holds a B.S. in Government and Politics and an M.S. in Criminal Justice.
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