In a challenge to President-elect Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall at the Mexico border, a California lawmaker said Monday he is introducing a bill that would require the project to first be approved by the state’s voters.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) said the legislation is one of three proposals he is introducing as a package called Fight For California. Another bill would prohibit state agencies from providing federal entities with information for purposes of compiling a so-called Muslim registry, another Trump proposal.
“We’re not going to allow a wall that harms our environment and our economy,” Lara said in a statement. “We’re not going to allow personal data on individual Californians' religious beliefs to be used to compile an unconstitutional database.”
Lara has been a leading lawmaker on immigration issues in recent years. His parents are immigrants from Mexico who were in the U.S. illegally before they gained citizenship.
He said one bill would mandate a vote of the people to approve any border wall project, which he said would harm California’s environment, including wildlife and river watersheds, as well as the state’s economy, including trade and tourism.
The second bill would prohibit state agencies from providing information to the federal government on an person’s religious affiliation if it is to be used for the purposes of compiling a database based solely on religious affiliation.
Lara said the measure would not affect the sharing of information by law enforcement agencies for purposes of national security.
The third bill is a reintroduction of legislation vetoed this year by Gov. Jerry Brown. The measure would prohibit local governments from contracting with private, for-profit companies to detain immigrants for profit and would require detention facilities to meet Immigration and Customs Enforcement minimum health and safety standards, Lara said.
“Californians voted overwhelmingly to uphold our values of inclusion and diversity," Lara said of the November election results. “We’re going to fight for California and for our values of democracy, freedom and basic human decency.”