We've written frequently in recent weeks/months about the brewing battle between the Trump administration and so-called "sanctuary cities" where local police officers are specifically instructed to ignore federal immigration laws. Now, the leftist state of California is considering a new senate bill that would have the entire state become America's first "sanctuary state."
According to CBS Los Angeles, Senate Bill 54, written by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles, will come to the floor for it's first public hearing today. While Democrat-controlled cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento are already considered sanctuary cities, SB54 would enforce the same protections for illegal immigrants on more conservative California cities in the San Joaquin Valley and elsewhere.
As if that weren't enough, CBS points out that the bill will also consider providing taxpayer dollars to fund lawyers for illegal immigrants facing deportation.
California may prohibit local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, creating a border-to-border sanctuary in the nation’s largest state as legislative Democrats ramp up their efforts to battle President Donald Trump’s migration policies.
The legislation is scheduled for its first public hearing Tuesday as the Senate rushes to enact measures that Democratic lawmakers say would protect immigrants from the crackdown that the Republican president has promised.
While many of California’s largest cities — including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento — have so-called sanctuary policies that prohibit police from cooperating with immigration authorities, much of the state does not.
The Democratic legislation, written by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles, comes up for debate less than a week after Trump signed an order threatening to withdraw some federal grants from jurisdictions that bar officials from communicating with federal authorities about someone’s immigration status.
The Senate Public Safety Committee considers SB54 Tuesday morning. The Judiciary Committee will also consider fast-tracked legislation that would spend state money, in an amount that has not been disclosed, to provide lawyers for people facing deportation.
Of course, this new California bill comes just as Trump signed an executive order to make good on his campaign pledge to block federal funding to states and cities where local law enforcement refuse to report undocumented immigrants they encounter to federal authorities. Here are recent comments from White House press secretary Sean Spicer:
"The American people are no longer going to have to be forced to subsidize this disregard for our laws,” Spicer said.
Spicer said an executive order signed by Trump on Wednesday directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to look at federal funding to cities to figure out "how we can defund those streams."
The move by the Trump administration threatens $2.3 billion in annual funding to the nation's 10 largest cities.
As we noted a few days ago, California has already threatened counter measures to withhold tax payments to the U.S. Treasury to the extent Trump makes good on his promise to block federal grants to the rogue state.
KPIX5 reports that officials are looking for money that flows through Sacramento to the federal government that could be used to offset the potential loss of billions of dollars’ worth of federal funds if President Trump makes good on his threat to punish cities and states that don’t cooperate with federal agents’ requests to turn over undocumented immigrants, a senior government source in Sacramento said.
It almost feels like this showdown between Trump and California Governor Jerry Brown should be a Pay-Per-View event.