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California v. Trump Immigration Battle: DACA, Raids, College Students

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The battle between the Trump administration and California over the Golden State’s new “sanctuary state” law appears to be heating up.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is planning a massive sweep of Northern California within weeks. According to the report, the series of raids could lead to more than 1,500 arrests of immigrants living in the country illegally.

Asked about that report Wednesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says he hopes the Trump administration conducts its immigration enforcement activities “smartly, in the right way.”

“We respect the federal government’s right to handle immigration enforcement,“ Becerra said at a news conference in Sacramento. “But they should respect our right to determine how we go about providing the general welfare and the public safety for the people of California.”

Earlier this month, Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said “California better hold on tight” – and that if sanctuary states and cities “don’t want to protect their communities, then ICE will.”

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law last year that limits state and local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Napolitano Backs Immigration Deal Pairing DACA Fix, Border Security

University of California President Janet Napolitano – who served as President Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security – is backing the inclusion of border security measures as part of a DACA deal.

Napolitano says an immigration deal that pairs certain border security measures with permanent legal status for DACA recipients would be a “reasonable approach.” DACA stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals," the Obama-era policy that granted temporary legal status to immigrants whose parents brought them to the U.S. illegally as children.

“Securing the border requires sensors, it requires lighting, it requires air cover, it requires manpower,“ Napolitano said Wednesday after appearing with Becerra at a news conference urging California college students who are DACA recipients to apply to renew their status. “It does not require a wall, which I think is overwhelmingly expensive for what little protection it provides.”

She also criticized the prospect of a major immigration sweep by ICE in California.

“I think one can question whether that is the best use of our law enforcement resources, and what kinds of costs are associated with that kind of enforcement approach, which is a mile wide and an inch deep – as opposed to really focusing on those who are a danger to our communities."

Napolitano says the Obama administration focused on violent felons, known gang members and immigrants identified as security threats.

California DACA College Students Urged To Apply For Renewals

Napolitano appeared with Becerra, a top California State University official and California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley to urge students who are DACA recipients to take advantage of what may only be a temporary window to renew their temporary status.

The federal government began accepting DACA applications over the weekend after a California judge halted the Trump administration’s effort to wind down the program – at least for the time being.

“We want to make sure that they understand that we want them to renew their status, we want them to apply, we want them in our colleges, we want them in our communities,” Oakley said.

Becerra and Napolitano won the preliminary injunction in federal court last week that led U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to reopen the application process for DACA recipients. The Trump administration is seeking to appeal the ruling directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Correction: This story has been updated from an earlier version that incorrectly stated the number of potential arrests from the major Northern California ICE sweep. That number is reportedly 1,500, not 15,000. We regret the error.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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