At a White House roundtable on the sanctuary policy for immigrants now reigning in the state of California, San Jacinto Mayor Crystal Ruiz was among California politicians at the meeting who expressed dismay over the policy. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed Senate Bill 54 in October 2017 and has become a vocal defender of sanctuary for illegal immigrants and a severe critics of President Donald Trump. Ruiz, a Republican, told listeners on Wednesday, "Sacramento is angry because they lost an election," and added, "For God's sake, get over it."

A number of California’s cities and counties are opposed to the law. Mayor Ruiz told Trump on Wednesday, "Our people are the ones hurting." According to Ruiz, the California government is releasing the criminal illegal immigrants into the general population. "My community is my family. You're putting my family at risk," she said. She asked Trump for help, not only for San Jacinto and cities opposed to the sanctuary law, but for the entire state of California. "All of us need help getting this solved," she said. “We need help Mr. President,” Ruiz said. “We need help protecting the city of San Jacinto, Escondido, the state of California.” “Don’t give up the fight,” Trump said.

President Trump praised local California politicians for resisting “deadly and unconstitutional sanctuary state laws," calling it a “rebellion” against the state’s immigration policies. “Each of you has bravely resisted California’s deadly and unconstitutional sanctuary state laws,” Trump said on Wednesday. "You’ve gone through a lot, too, although it’s become quite popular what you do.”

In March, Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed a lawsuit against California’s “sanctuary” policies, which limit local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities. “The state of California's attempts to nullify federal law have sparked a rebellion by patriotic citizens who want their families protected and their borders secured,” Trump said. “They want border security and they want protection.” Among the California jurisdictions filing amicus briefs or have joined the federal lawsuit  are: Newport Beach, Orange, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, Fountain Valley, San Juan Capistrano, and Yorba Linda.

During the roundtable, President Trump called on the Justice Department to investigate Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland on charges of "obstruction of justice.” Schaaf gave advance warning of forthcoming arrests in immigrant communities by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement service. While Attorney General Jeff Sessions looked on, the president said, "To me, that's obstruction of justice," adding, "And perhaps the Department of Justice can look into that..." In addition to the Attorney General, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, also attended.

Apparently referring to criminal elements among immigrants, Trump said, "These aren't people. These are animals." The White House described the group of California mayors and others as representing areas "directly affected by California's dangerous sanctuary city laws." The president said that America has the worst immigration laws in the world, while blaming Democrats for passing those laws. Referring to crimes committed by illegal immigrants, Trump mentioned the case of an illegal immigrant who is alleged to have committed a rape in Maryland. "We cannot let this butchery happen in America," Trump said.

Criticizing Mayor Schaaf and Gov. Brown over their approach to immigration, Trump said in March while visiting California, "You have sanctuary cities where you have criminals living in the sanctuary cities and then the mayor of Oakland goes out and notifies when ICE is going in to pick them up." Trump said in March, "And many of them were criminals with criminal records and very dangerous people ... And no, I think the governor's doing a terrible job running the state of California."

In a tweet he posted after the roundtable, Gov. Brown said he is "not impressed."

Brown accused the president of lying about about California. "Trump is lying on immigration, lying about crime and lying about the laws of California," Brown said in a statement. "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."




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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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