California braces for Trump’s ‘border wall hallucination tour’ (Politico link): Donald Trump’s California supporters are “ecstatic” that the president will be making his first official visit to the state next month. But his March trip to San Diego to advance construction of a border wall is also firing up progressive activists who are determined to make him feel unwelcome.
The White House confirmation of Trump’s visit to view border wall prototypes — the preeminent symbol of his immigration policy — comes amid widespread anger on the left related to a series of immigration raids and arrests launched this week throughout California, home to an estimated 2.2 million undocumented immigrants.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, which spanned from the Central Valley throughout Northern California and resulted in more than 150 arrests on Tuesday, intensified anger and political resistance to the administration in a solidly blue state where the president is already deeply unpopular.
“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 Gloria Nieto, a veteran Democratic LGBT activist 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.”
Advance reports of the raids prompted mayors like Oakland’s Libby Schaaf to push back against the administration by announcing the ICE strategy in advance to warn residents in her city. That move earned her a rebuke from ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan, who, in a statement, called her action a “reckless decision was based on her political agenda with the very federal laws that ICE is sworn to uphold.”
Trump’s impending visit “makes sense with his converting the U.S. presidency into reality TV,” says Chris Newman, legal director for the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network – an immigrant rights group. “And if I were the producer of his game show presidency, I would do the same.
“If Trump comes to California, he’ll find that California has built an immunity to the type of fear that he’s pushing,’’ Newman said. “[H]e’s trying to spread venom — and I don’t think it will have the desired effect.”
But the reaction to the presidential visit so far has focused on a border wall and the administration’s immigration policies. Trump addressed questions about the wall Wednesday in a tweet.
“I have decided that sections of the Wall that California wants built NOW will not be built until the whole Wall is approved,” Trump said.
GOP former state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, founder of the California Minutemen Party, and who has made illegal immigration a linchpin of his political career, says he welcomes news of the president’s stop in San Diego as evidence that Trump is a “hands-on” leader who plans to make good on his “signature issue.”
“He can’t strike out on the wall. It has to work, it has to be funded — and it has to get built,’’ said Donnelly, who has launched a primary challenge against Rep. Paul Cook. He said the president’s announcement will reassure his supporters who are worried pressure in Washington will make Trump cave on a key issue. “A lot of hardcore Trump supporters are deeply concerned about this whole DACA thing becoming amnesty,’’ he said.
In the eyes of many conservatives, mayors like Oakland’s Schaff are flaunting the law. So “our supporters are just ecstatic that Trump is coming down to look at the wall,’’ said John Berry, an activist with the Redlands Tea Party Patriots. “It’s beyond insanity that Sacramento idiots are showing they care more about illegals than they do about our own citizens. Trump is coming to rescue the people of California.”
So far, some leading elected officials, including Gov. Jerry Brown have been silent on the president’s plans. But state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, a candidate for U.S. Senate and the author of SB54 — that’s known as the “sanctuary state” bill to further protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation — said he doesn’t intend to be quiet about the White House state visit.
He told POLITICO that “The great thing about California is that we welcome everyone — even a malevolent president who has spent a full year attacking our values, threatening our people and corroding the people’s trust in government.”