California's Local Anti-Sanctuary Leaders Welcomed at the White House
By Shari Rendall | May 31, 2018
Escondido, California, Mayor Sam Abed sharply rebuked California’s dangerous sanctuary law in a recent guest column in the Washington Times, noting “the beginnings of the conditions that existed in the Lebanon that I left many decades ago are now rearing their ugly heads right here in America.” Abed was referring to the loss of sense of safety and increase in crime that has taken place since California officially became a sanctuary state on January 1, 2018.
Abed was among many anti-sanctuary local leaders who on May 16 journeyed to Washington to meet with President Trump and convene a “sanctuary state roundtable” with the president, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Thomas Homan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), among others.
In the ensuing two months following Los Alamitos’ vote to oppose California’s notorious sanctuary state law, there has been growing backlash. In fact, more than a dozen cities and counties throughout the Golden State have now taken some kind of official action to stand up against it, whether declaring themselves exempt, or filing briefs in support of the federal government’s lawsuit against the state. Mayors, sheriffs, county supervisors, and city council members hailed the President and his administration for its strong stance in favor of enforcing the nation’s immigration laws. While grateful, they also asked for more help, and local law enforcement officials in particular repeatedly stressed the dangers of the sanctuary law keeping them from communicating and cooperating with ICE.
Escondido Mayor Sam Abed (R), a legal immigrant from Lebanon, summed up the issue saying, “Thirty years ago, I came here to live the American Dream … And we did well. Jerry Brown wants to take this American Dream away from us.” Mayor Elaine Gennawey (R) of Laguna Niguel made sure to particularly thank Homan and ICE, undoubtedly a welcome change from the agency being attacked on a daily basis by the open-borders lobby. Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steele (R) said “[w]e will not sit idly by and watch Sacramento leverage the safety of our communities in order to make a political point.” And Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Riverside County) proclaimed, “[t]his is your Republican resistance right here against what they’re doing in California.”
Calling the sanctuary law a “disgrace,” President Trump and the other federal officials present thanked the local leaders for standing up and fighting, as well as promising continued support. “We’ll take care of it,” he said; “we’ll win.”
California Governor Jerry Brown (D), of course, took the occasion as an opportunity to scorn both the President and the local leaders from his own state.
But it’s clear from this meeting that the opposition to California’s dangerous sanctuary policies isn’t going away. It’s fighting an uphill battle for now, but growing and strengthening. And it has strong support from the Trump Administration just at the moment that that’s most needed.