President Donald Trump’s plans to view border wall prototypes in California are likely to be met with resistance from liberal activists and immigration advocates.
The commander-in-chief’s visit will be his first official visit to the nation’s third-largest and most populous state – and his timing couldn’t be worse. Earlier in the week, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf publicly announced an upcoming series of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, raising tension between the agency and some of California’s biggest cities.
According to Politico.com, California is home to an estimated 2.2 million undocumented immigrants. ICE raids led to 150 arrests in the past week alone, intensifying anger against the Trump administration in the solidly blue state.
Schaaf’s decision to warn Oakland residents of the raids in advance led to an outcry from Washington. ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan issued a statement calling Schaaf’s move “a reckless decision was [sic] based on her political agenda with the very federal laws ICE is sworn to uphold.” [sic — syntax]
I have decided that sections of the Wall that California wants built NOW will not be built until the whole Wall is approved. Big victory yesterday with ruling from the courts that allows us to proceed. OUR COUNTRY MUST HAVE BORDER SECURITY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2018
“I have full faith that my Southern California Latino community will give Trump’s border wall hallucination tour exactly the respect it deserves: Nada, nunca, forget it,” said Democratic LGBT activist Gloria Nieto, speaking in Santa Cruz. “Considering how much this administration has allowed unfit employees access to information which is a real threat to our country’s safety, this continued charade feeds a false narrative about the dangers we face. Mexicans trying to find work to feed their families are an empty threat.”
Other liberal activists took a similar stance to Nieto, claiming California immune to the types of scare tactics which took Trump from The Apprentice into the White House.
“If Trump comes to California, he’ll find that California has built an immunity to the type of fear that he’s pushing,” said Chris Newman, legal director of the immigrant advocacy group National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “He’s trying to spread venom – and I don’t think it will have the desired effect.”
Newman said Trump’s upcoming visit “makes sense with his converting the U.S. presidency into reality TV.”
“And if I were the producer of his game show presidency, I would do the same.”
But President Trump’s trip may not just be about eyeing border wall prototypes and trying to push an agenda. POLITICO reports that Trump will head a Republican National Committee fundraiser in Los Angeles. He and Vice President Mike Pence will likely offer their assistance and political support to GOP candidates running in the midterm.
“I have decided that sections of the Wall [sic] that California wants built NOW will not be built until the whole Wall [sic] is approved,” Tweeted Trump.
Some Californians were optimistic about the opportunities Trump’s visit may bring. A rare California conservative, interviewed by POLITICO, told the website he was glad that “Trump is coming to rescue the people from California” from “Sacramento idiots” too sympathetic toward illegal immigrants.
Others, like San Diego Area Chamber of Commerce chief Jerry Sanders, hoped being along the border might show Trump the value of trade between both countries.
“It would be great if he would meet with the mayor, who is very pro-Mexico, and we could show him the economic impacts between the two regions and the impacts on the entire U.S. from trade with Mexico […] we’d like to have him get our perspective.”