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Trump's Immigration Actions Draw Strong Response At California Capitol

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio
Democratic Senate Leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and other California lawmakers criticize President Trump's executive actions on immigration on Wednesday, January 25, 2017."

California Democrats are expediting legislation in response to President Trump’s executive orders on immigration.

Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León says it would be illegal to cut off federal funding to “sanctuary cities” – or even entire states – that protect immigrants.

“We think it’s unconstitutional that (the president) would attempt to coerce us – to force us – to capitulate to his will, and if we don’t do so, that he’ll withhold these dollars,” De León told reporters Wednesday at the state Capitol.

“It doesn’t mean the state of California and the tax dollars of California have to cooperate with the federal immigration agents in splitting children from their mothers and mothers from their children,” he added.

Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher counters that the president’s orders are “reasonable immigration reforms.”

“I think the Democratic leadership really has to think about whether it’s worth fighting reasonable immigration policies when
there’s a huge risk of losing a whole lot of federal funds,“ Gallagher says. “California would do well to go along with that policy and ensure that we don’t get federal funds taken away from us.”

But De León says Senate committees will begin debating legislation next week in response to the president’s executive orders.

One bill would ban California law enforcement agencies from cooperating with immigration authorities. Another would provide legal aid to Californians at risk of deportation.

Copyright 2017 Capital Public Radio