Saturday July 4th, 2020 9:31PM

Trump rails against California for its immigration policies

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday hammered California for its so-called sanctuary immigration policies, in what appeared to be his latest push to embolden his base leading into the midterm elections.

As the debate over immigration heats up on Capitol Hill, Trump surrounded himself with mayors, sheriffs and other local leaders from California who oppose the state's immigration policies and who applauded his administration's hard-line efforts.

"This is your Republican resistance right here against what they're doing in California," said California Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, coopting a term used by Democrats opposed to Trump's presidency. She, like others, said the president and his policies were far more popular in the state than people realize.

"It's a crisis," Melendez said of the situation.

They were responding to legislation signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last year that bars police from asking people about their immigration status or helping federal agents with immigration enforcement. Jail officials can transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities if they have been convicted of one of about 800 crimes, mostly felonies, but not for minor offenses.

Brown insists the legislation, which took effect Jan. 1, doesn't prevent federal immigration officials from doing their jobs. But the Trump administration has sued to reverse it, calling the policies unconstitutional and dangerous. Some counties, including San Diego and Orange, have voted to support the lawsuit or passed their own anti-sanctuary resolutions.

Republicans see backlash to the law as a potentially galvanizing issue during the midterm elections, especially with Trump's anti-immigrant base. And Trump has held numerous events in recent months during which he's drawn attention to California's policies.

During Wednesday's session, Trump thanked the officials, saying they had "bravely resisted California's deadly and unconstitutional sanctuary state laws." He claimed those laws are forcing "the release of illegal immigrant criminals, drug dealers, gang members and violent predators into your communities" and providing "safe harbor to some of the most vicious and violent offenders on earth."

Trump also claimed opposition to the policies was growing, insisting, "There's a revolution going on in California." He referred to some who cross the border illegally as "animals," not people.

Brown responded on Twitter, writing that Trump "is lying on immigration, lying about crime and lying about the laws of CA."

The Democratic governor added: "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."

The event came as top House Republicans worked to head off an attempt by party moderates to force roll calls on four immigration bills. Republican leaders privately warned GOP lawmakers Wednesday that such a drive could damage the party's prospects in the fall's congressional elections by dispiriting conservative voters, according to people at the closed-door meeting.

The House leaders fear the winning legislation would be a compromise bill backed solidly by Democrats but opposed by most Republicans, an outcome that could anger conservatives, according to Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., a leader of the effort to force the immigration votes.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., issued the warning, said a second person who was in the room and spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private conversation.

Asked about his remarks, McCarthy said his objection to the procedure was that it would in effect "turn the floor over" to Democrats.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the petition would be "a big mistake" that would "disunify our majority." He said the leaders were "working with the administration."

The moderates said later Wednesday that House leaders were trying to end the immigration standoff and that they could soon see a specific proposal on how to do that.

"We're willing to see what this looks like," said Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., a leader of the lawmakers trying to force the House to address the issue. Conservatives had their own session with party leaders and also suggested there had been movement, but offered no specifics.

Many of the legislators demanding action face potentially competitive re-election races in congressional districts with large numbers of Hispanic, suburban or agriculture-industry voters with pro-immigration views.

Earlier this year, competing bills aimed at protecting young immigrants and toughening border security — including one backed by Trump — collapsed in the Senate. The measures never received House votes.

The discussion also comes as the Trump administration is under fire for a new policy that is expected to increase the number of children separated from their parents when families cross the border illegally.

Trump, in his remarks, wrongly blamed Democrats for forcing his administration's hand.

"I know what you're going through right now with families is very tough," he told Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, "but those are the bad laws that the Democrats gave us. We have to break up families ... because of the Democrats. It's terrible."

But no law "the Democrats gave us" mandates the separation of children from their parents at the border. The administration is using protocols described in a 2008 law designed to combat child trafficking that gave special protections to Central American children at the border. While the bill was authored by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, it unanimously passed both houses of Congress and was signed by Republican President George W. Bush as one of his last acts in office.

Nielsen on Tuesday defended the practice, telling a Senate committee that removing children from parents facing criminal charges happens "in the United States every day."

Trump also told Nielsen that she was "doing a good job," one week after berating her during a cabinet meeting for failing to halt border crossings.

Feinstein issued a statement accusing the Trump administration of "once again attempting to divide Californians and all Americans with today's White House meeting."

"Their decision to convene this meeting is about fueling fear of immigrants and scapegoating entire communities," she said.


Associated Press writers Alan Fram in Washington, Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump rails against California for its immigration policies
President Donald Trump is hammering California for its so-called sanctuary immigration policies
7:32PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Marco Andretti leads field on 2nd day of Indy 500 practice
Marco Andretti led four Honda drivers atop the speed chart on the second day of practice for the Indianapolis 500
7:31PM ( 28 minutes ago )
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee
Republicans are pushing for a quick confirmation vote for President Donald Trump's CIA nominee Gina Haspel
7:24PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Turkish banker gets 32-month sentence in Iran sanctions case
A judge has sentenced a Turkish banker convicted of helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions to 2 years 8 months in prison
6:55PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump disclosure of Cohen payment raises new legal questions
President Donald Trump reveals in his financial disclosure that he reimbursed personal attorney Michael Cohen as much as $250,000 for unspecified "expenses"
6:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
Giant rocks spewing from Hawaii volcano summit
Plume of volcanic ash lingers over Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, prompts warnings for pilots
6:46PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
North Carolina teachers demand better funding in large march
Teachers demanding better pay and more resources filled the streets of North Carolina's capital city Wednesday with loud chants and the color red
6:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump: US hasn't been notified about threat to cancel summit
President Donald Trump says the U.S. hasn't "heard anything" about North Korea's threat to cancel his planned summit with Kim Jong Un next month
5:35PM ( 2 hours ago )
Lawyer says Rapper T.I. 'wrongfully arrested' near his home
Police: Rapper T.I. arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and public drunkenness as he tried to enter his gated Atlanta area community; rapper's lawyer calls arrest 'wrongful'
5:33PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Unapologetic Trump Jr.: Not troubled that I met with Russian
Donald Trump Jr. told a Senate panel that he didn't think there was anything wrong with meeting a Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 election
6:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: DA says kids shot with crossbows, waterboarded
California prosecutors say 10 children rescued from a filthy, abusive home were subjected to 'waterboarding,' shot with crossbows and had scalding water poured on them.
4:33PM ( 3 hours ago )
California parents of 10 kids rescued from abuse in custody
Bail for a California mother of 10 children who officials say suffered long-term abuse was set at nearly $500,000 after the judge said she remains a danger to the kids
4:17PM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Liberal tilt in some primaries a sign of Democratic fervor
Democratic voters are choosing decidedly liberal candidates in some primary elections for House races viewed as key to the congressional majority
6:59PM ( 1 hour ago )
Judge to decide Florida ban on smokable medical marijuana
A Florida circuit court judge will soon decide if patients approved to use medical marijuana will be allowed to smoke it
6:57PM ( 1 hour ago )
House OKs expansion of private care at VA, fix budget crisis
House votes to give veterans more freedom to see doctors outside the Veterans Affairs health system
6:47PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
EPA's Pruitt faces senators' questions on spending, security
Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt says he doesn't remember asking his security detail to use lights and sirens to speed his government-owned SUV through traffic, even as Democratic senators disclose an internal email saying he did
2:43PM ( 5 hours ago )
Virginia Republicans at odds - and throats - in Trump era
The vicious tenor of the 2016 GOP presidential primary is being matched by Virginia's raucous congressional primaries
2:12PM ( 5 hours ago )
CIA nominee wins Senate panel backing, confirmation expected
The Senate intelligence committee has voted in favor of Gina Haspel's nomination to become the CIA's first female director
2:04PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Marco Andretti leads field on 2nd day of Indy 500 practice
Marco Andretti led four Honda drivers atop the speed chart on the second day of practice for the Indianapolis 500
7:31PM ( 29 minutes ago )
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee
Republicans are pushing for a quick confirmation vote for President Donald Trump's CIA nominee Gina Haspel
7:24PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Michigan State agrees to pay $500M to settle Nassar claims
Michigan State agrees to pay $500M to settle abuse claims against sports doctor
7:19PM ( 41 minutes ago )
DA: Children in California home were strangled, waterboarded
Prosecutors allege that the children rescued from a filthy California home were strangled, punched, shot with bb guns and subjected to waterboarding by their father and their mother did nothing to stop it
7:06PM ( 54 minutes ago )
AP analysis shows how Bill Gates influences education policy
Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates saw an opportunity with a new federal education law that has widespread repercussions on American classrooms
7:04PM ( 56 minutes ago )