City and county officials from California who oppose California Senate Bill 54, which creates a “sanctuary state” for illegal aliens, met with President Donald Trump on May 16 to discuss their objections to the law. The event was billed as “a California Sanctuary State Roundtable.”
Trump said that he was “greatly honored to be here with the courageous mayors and sheriffs and local leaders from across the state of California.… Each of you has bravely resisted California’s deadly and unconstitutional sanctuary state laws.” Trump noted that SB 54 is “a law that forces the release of illegal immigrant criminals, drug dealers, gang members, and violent predators into your communities.”
He then invited some of the officials to comment on their efforts to safeguard the communities against crimes committed by illegal aliens who have been released because of sanctuary laws. Among these were California Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, who said that during her five years in office, Governor Jerry Brown had not once invited any Republican to discuss the illegal-immigration issue.
Mayor Sam Abed told the success story of his city of Escondido:
When I was elected mayor in 2010, I made the agreement with ICE. We brought eight ICE agents to Escondido, to our police station. Since then, we deported over 2,700 illegal criminals from our city, and made Escondido as safe as it was in 1980. This is a great success story, and our cooperation with ICE and the San Diego ICE is a very compelling model for the nation to follow.
Another official, Sheriff John D’Agostini of El Dorado County, clearly articulated how he saw the role of local law enforcement when it comes to immigration enforcement: “We’re not immigration officers; we never have been, and we’re never going to be. We just want to be able to cooperate with our federal partners so that these folks that end up in our custody and need to be deported, get deported.”
During the event, Trump singled out Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who broadcasted a public warning on Twitter the night of February 24 that immigration raids in her city were upcoming. Trump said of Schaff’s actions: “To me, that’s obstruction of justice. And perhaps the Department of Justice can look into that with respect to the mayor, because it’s a big deal out there and a lot of people are very angry about what happened.”
Photo of President Trump at California Sanctuary State Roundtable: AP Images