Undocumented Immigration In California

Capital Public Radio’s News Department is devoting a whole year to examining one of the most important and polarizing issues of our time. Our goal is to create a body of work that will enlighten and advance the conversation in California and beyond.

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Immigrant Advocates Brace For Trump Administration, Others Call For Patience

Randol White / Capital Public Radio

Andrew Medina with Asian Americans Advancing Justice looks over the conference program Wednesday just before the event’s lunch plenary discussion: “What’s At Stake After The Elections”

Randol White / Capital Public Radio

Civil-rights advocates in California are preparing for likely conflicts with immigration policies expected under the incoming Trump Administration.

Community leaders from throughout the state came together this week in Sacramento to focus on current immigration policies, as well as post General Election planning.

Layla Razavi is with the California Immigrant Policy Center, which hosted the event.

She said, under past presidential administrations when services to immigrant communities were reduced, the state stepped up to increase support. She expects the same this time around.

“It’s a state that’s really adopted a posture that is inclusive, supportive, and welcoming towards all of its residents,” said Razavi. “And, I think the clear message that we’re getting right now from the legislature is that they intend to continue on that track; we’re not going to abandon our most vulnerable populations simply because of the results of the election.”

Razavi said California’s diversity helps it succeed economically, and she believes the state will set the tone for many other states in the years to come.

The organization’s Ronald Coleman says immigration issues at the city and county levels will require increased attention during the Trump Administration.

“It will be really important to make sure that we have a clear and bright line between our local law enforcement and our criminal justice system, and what happens with federal immigration enforcement,” said Coleman.

Meanwhile, the University of California is positioning itself to combat possible conflicts.

UC President Janet Napolitano vowed this week to protect students who entered the U.S. illegally, and keep personal information confidential.

Joseph Guzzardi is a spokesperson for the Santa Barbara-based group Californians for Population Stabilization.

He said organizations, like the UC system, are premature in addressing these issues, because there is not yet any solid plans in place for how immigration issues will be handled.

"And it seems to me that making the statements that Janet Napolitano made, and that the governor has made, and that sanctuary cities' mayors have made across the United States have made, is really alarmist," said Guzzardi.

Trump campaign policies raising concern among immigrant-rights groups include tripling the number of ICE agents and terminating President Obama’s amnesty programs.

As of early December, the President-Elect's transition team had yet to release any detailed information on these issues.