“…if you want to get to them, you have to go through us.” —Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon
By Doug Porter
President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration may be six weeks away. Elected officials in Sacramento and San Diego are already taking actions aimed at shielding those who may be victimized by the new administration.
Newly sworn in lawmakers at the State capitol proposed legislation providing attorneys to immigrants in the country illegally, refusing to aid any proposed registry of Muslim immigrants and requiring voter approval for any wall built along the Mexican border.
This evening San Diego Unified School Board will likely approve a resolution to protect all of its 130,000 students and staff in the district.
In Washington DC, Texas Republican Congressman John Culberson told Politico about steps already taken allowing President-elect Donald Trump to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars from sanctuary cities and states on the first day of his presidency,
In the Crosshairs
According to the story, more than $342 million in Justice Department grants could immediately be blocked for at least 10 jurisdictions who fail to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts related to undocumented immigrants, including the state of California as well as New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
The chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Department of Justice told Politico “President Trump and Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions can throw the light switch I’ve created and turn off all federal law enforcement money to those 10 jurisdictions at noon on Jan. 20.”
Ten jurisdictions are listed in a DOJ Inspector General report stipulating cities and states refusing to change their sanctuary policies risk losing funding from the current grant cycle and might also have to refund the feds for grants they received from earlier grant cycles.
Rep. Culberson told Politico he’s already spoken with the Trump team and was confident the new administration will follow through. “They’re very supportive,” he said. “They’re very excited about it.”
Tough Talk in Sacramento
The mood at the State Legislature on Monday was combative, in ways eclipsing the usual celebratory spirit associated with the swearing in of new members.
Former San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria joined the ranks of the Assembly, replacing Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins, who moved over to represent the area in the State Senate.
“I am looking forward to working under the leadership of our Speaker Anthony Rendon as well as my Assembly and Senate colleagues to ensure California continues to be a beacon of inclusive, progressive policies that can be replicated across America,” said Gloria
Rendon, meanwhile, was drawing a line in the sand.
From the Sacramento Bee:
“We have all heard the insults, we have all heard the lies, and we have all heard the threats,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount. Speaking of an undocumented immigration population that is the nation’s largest, he said, “if you want to get to them, you have to go through us.”
Rendon, stepping out of his usually staid public demeanor, said California faces a “major existential threat.” He drew raucous applause for a dig at Trump adviser Stephen Bannon, saying that “white nationalists and anti-Semites have no business working in the White House.” Bannon’s Breitbart website has drawn admiration from nationalists and opponents of multiculturalism as well as criticism for pushing bigotry into mainstream discourse.
California would seek to preserve reproductive rights for women, ensure people can find health care coverage, shield Muslims and LGBT people “or anyone whose rights and safety are increasingly under fire” and send a message that “if you are an immigrant you are welcome here,” Rendon said.
The mood wasn’t much different over on the Senate side.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Senate Leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), who noted that he is the son of an immigrant mother, said the Legislature accepts the election results.
“But California will never appease those who threaten to undermine our prosperity or deprive our people of their most fundamental human rights,” De León told his colleagues. “We refuse to regress back to the politics of scapegoating, preying on religious, racial and ethnic hostilities, echoing the dark divisive days of Proposition 187.”
De León was referring to a 1994 ballot measure that sought to deny immigrants in the country illegally access to public services, but was mostly overturned by the courts. He said immigrants are once again filled with “fear and panic” over their future.
Voting along party lines, both houses approved a nonbinding resolution urging Congress to adopt new immigration laws providing a way for immigrants to gain citizenship and calling upon the President-elect Trump to continue current policy deferring the deportation of immigrants brought to this country as minors.
Republican legislators were also pumped up, expressing outrage at the actions of their Democratic colleagues. State Sen. Joel Anderson of San Diego called out the joint resolution as “racist” because it favored some immigrants over others who come to the country legally.
Legal Aid and Job Training
From the Huffington Post:
The lawmakers also announced the introduction of two bills to help undocumented immigrants if Trump pursues his aggressive deportation plan. SB 6, authored by state Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), would establish a legal aid fund for people facing deportation. (A similar program is also under consideration in New York.) AB 3, authored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), would set up training centers to educate legal workers on immigration law.
In recent years, the state legislature has made it a key priority to protect immigrants, regardless of their legal status. California has erased the word “alien” from its labor laws, extended in-state tuition rates to undocumented students and issued driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.
Local Groups Voice Support
Jennie Pasquarella, Immigrants’ Rights Director with the American Civil Liberties Union of California, praised the legislative proposals, saying:
“Now, more than ever, California must stand by its values of fairness and due process, and the many immigrants that call California their home.
For many immigrants, AB 3 and SB 6 could be the difference between being able to stay in the country and being torn from their families, communities, and lives they have built here.
Today, the ACLU is proud to stand with immigrants of all backgrounds to support legislation reinforcing California’s commitment to due process: the idea that everyone deserves a fair hearing, whether they are confronted with a criminal charge or a deportation charge, and that fairness demands that no one confront such charges without the adequate assistance of a lawyer. No one should have to face deportation – including permanent separation from children and families – without a lawyer to defend them.
We know that, in an immigrant-rich state like California, we all prosper when immigrants prosper. The Legislature’s investment in fairness and due process will no doubt ensure all of California prospers.”
The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium applauded the actions in Sacramento, issuing a statement saying:
“When it comes to standing up for immigrants and refugees, the time for rhetoric is over, and the time to take action is now. That’s why we applaud state elected officials in California for taking proactive measures to protect immigrants and refugees against potentially harsh immigration and enforcement policies from the incoming Trump Administration.
Trust between the community and local law enforcement is essential for everyone’s security. Policies that require local law enforcement to help enforce federal immigration law erode this trust and put everyone’s safety at risk. Schools, clinics, hospitals, places of worship and other sensitive locations should be deemed off-limits to immigration enforcement agents. It’s important that immigrants and refugees have access to proper legal representation when needed.
The best way to protect the wellbeing of our entire community is ensuring that people feel they can move freely in their communities without fear.”
Schools Take a Stand
SDUSD’s Board of Education is following in the footsteps of other large school districts around California by taking steps to protect and reassure immigrant families with children in schools.
In the days following the general election, the Superintendent and the leader of the district teacher’s union issued a joint letter to more than 17,000 San Diego Unified staff members reaffirming district schools must remain safe places for all students and families.
According to Southern California Public Radio, an estimated 13% children in California public schools have at least one parent who’s an undocumented immigrant — and there are more than 245,000 children in the state who are undocumented themselves.
Schools have a legal leg to stand on when it comes to the stances they are taking because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe, in which justices ruled that denying undocumented students access to K-12 schools “imposes a lifetime hardship on a discrete class of children not accountable for their disabling status.”
Following the election, the Los Angeles Unified School Board drew a pre-emptive line in the sand.
Board members approved a resolution that vows the district will guard students’ data against “any future policies or executive action” Trump might take “to the fullest extent provided by the law.” It also reaffirmed the district’s declaration that L.A. Unified campuses are “safe zones” off-limits to immigration enforcement agents.
San Diego Unified’s actions will include:
- Organizing an event to be called a Celebration of Light showing support the rights of all students, regardless of race, color, national origin, immigration status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or religion to be educated in an environment free from fear, violence, and intimidation. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, December 14, at 4:00 p.m. at the Ballard Parent Center in Old Town, located at 2375 Congress St, San Diego, California 92110.
- Urging the San Diego City Council to reaffirm its 2013 resolution supporting the rights of immigrant families to live without fear as full and equal members of a civic community.
- Ordering up an action plan to be presented to the Board within 90 days taking whatever steps necessary to maintain the safety and openness of the school community.
- Directing the SDUSD General Counsel to issue a legal memorandum to all students and staff affirming the protections afforded immigrant students and their families under the 1982 Supreme Court decision in the matter of Plyler v. Doe, affirming the rights of undocumented students to access the same education as all students, and the 2011 memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security classifying schools as sensitive locations where enforcement actions are prohibited.
- Ordering the Superintendent to work with district General Counsel to create a staff directive reminding all district personnel of their obligations under the California Trust Act of 2014, and the aforementioned federal case law and administrative procedures.
- Urging the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to affirm that schools are now and will forever be sensitive locations where they will not seek to detain and deport immigrant families who pose no threat to community safety.
- Calling on President-Elect Trump to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and to clearly articulate the rights of all students to attend school without the fear of detention and deportation.
- Urging President Obama to expand the Department of Justice prohibitions against racial profiling to include all agencies within the Department of Homeland Security, including the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
On This Day: 1865 – The 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. The amendment abolished slavery in the U.S. 1869 – African-American delegates met in Washington, D.C., to form the Colored National Labor Union as a branch of the all-White National Labor Union created three years earlier. Unlike the NLU, the CNLU welcomed members of all races. Isaac Myers was the CNLU’s founding president; Frederick Douglass became president in 1872. 1957 – America’s first attempt at putting a satellite into orbit failed when the satellite blew up on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral, FL.
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