Jim Clark: Anti-Trump frenzy continues in California (opinion)
Like many Nevadans, I retired in Nevada as a California tax fugitive. Not so long ago Republicans could survive and even thrive in the Golden State … between 1943 and now there, have been seven GOP Governors and only three Democrats (Brown Sr., Brown Jr. and “Grey-out” Davis who was recalled).
However, over the years the state legislature has experienced a steady and increasing Democratic tilt (anybody remember Assembly Speaker Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh?) resulting in more and higher taxes, more stringent anti-business regulations and a steadily increasing immigrant population.
Today, Democrat Governor Jerry Brown presides over a legislature in which both houses have Democratic supermajorities relegating the few Republicans to the status of onlookers.
After Donald Trump vanquished rival Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College last year, Golden State Democrats circled their wagons and prepared to resist an onslaught of feared Trumpian immigration policies enacted by a GOP Congress.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles) told his fellow solons: “Immigrants matter in California. We are telling the next administration and Congress that if you want to get to them you have to go through us.”
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) added: “It’s our moral responsibility as senators and Assembly members to do everything in our power to protect our constituents (sic) to alleviate the sense of anxiety and fear and panic that is deep in many communities across the State of California.”
Republicans warned the Democratic supermajority that precipitous action could put federal funding for California at risk by attacking Trump’s policies before he even takes office or fully defines what his policies will be, but no one paid any attention.
De Leon then bulled through a measure prohibiting any state or local law enforcement official from helping federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents with deportation cases.
It further prohibits federal officials from attempting to use state data to identify illegal immigrants; the measure goes on to create “safe zones” such as schools, hospitals and courthouses where immigration enforcement would be prohibited.
De Leon’s colleague, Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), authored a state-funded program where court-appointed lawyers would represent illegals facing deportation.
Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) came up with a companion bill that creates regional centers paid for by the state that would train attorneys on immigration law.
Finally, Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) topped off the anti-Trump legislation frenzy with a bill that requires federal immigration officials to notify administrators at public colleges and universities before they go on campus; schools will also be barred from releasing student immigration status to federal officials. Price tag for the lawyer measures: $80 million.
Where to start? Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution gives Congress “the exclusive right to establish a uniform rule of naturalization,” so it’s hard to see how any state can validly enact laws that conflict with or attempt to frustrate federal laws.
Also Gov. Brown is asking for a $0.47 per gallon increase in gas taxes to cover the deficit in the State Employees’ Retirement Fund; this as his legislators appropriate $80 million for lawyers to defend non-citizens who are illegally here.
Although President Trump has strongly advocated deporting illegals who have violated US.. laws, it’s unclear whether he really intends to send out jackbooted officials to tear illegal immigrant families apart if none of them have been involved with any wrongdoing.
However, my guess is that before any federal-state confrontations take place, Trump Administration officials will take a look at California’s anti-Trump legislation frenzy and study every law, rule and document which underlies the federal government’s largesse in sending money to California cities, counties, universities, highway departments, etc., and shutting off that faucet.
For good measure, Trump might declare Governor Brown’s house a national park.
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Washoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.