‘Finally’: Trump’s illegal immigration crackdown wins praise from some activists

Maya Casillas, 7, middle, joins about 60 protesters for a vigil against President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration at City Hall in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Maya Casillas, 7, middle, joins about 60 protesters for a vigil against President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration at City Hall in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

President Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration has sparked concern from many California politicians. But it is winning praise from activists who for years have been trying to reduce illegal immigration.

Robin Hvidston, executive director of We The People Rising, an anti-illegal immigration organization based in Claremont, said Trump’s actions bring new hope to activists like her.

The organization has turned out to meetings in Rialto and Huntington Park and of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to oppose sanctuary measures.


“Ending sanctuary cities is a way to restore the rule of law to the cities of California and throughout the United States,” she said. “We … are happy and encouraged that, after decades of federal lawbreaking, a president is finally taking action to enforce federal immigration laws.”

Roy H. Beck, who heads NumbersUSA, a powerful national advocacy group opposing illegal immigration, praised Trump’s move.

“The new policies announced on sanctuary cities finally put federal executive action on the side of the victims and potential victims of crime instead of protecting the interests of the businesses and organizations who profit from keeping as many illegal migrants in the country as possible.”

Two decades ago, California was a hotbed for the anti-illegal immigration movement. In 1994, California voters approved Proposition 187, which was meant to cut many public services for people here illegally. (The law was later ruled unconstitutional.)

But more recent political and demographic shifts have made California decidedly more welcoming to those here without proper papers.

More than 400 jurisdictions across the country have some sort of “sanctuary” policy aimed at welcoming those here illegally, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and about 40 others in California.


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Details about Trump’s crackdown remain unclear. On Wednesday, the president signed two executive orders designed to begin building a wall along the border with Mexico, add lockups for detaining immigrants who cross the border illegally, enhance enforcement powers for border agents and strip federal funding to cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement.

According to a draft document reviewed by The Times, under the new order, the federal government would threaten to withhold funds from so-called sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with immigration officials.

Many political leaders both in big cities and in Sacramento have vowed to fight Trump.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters Wednesday that he doesn’t believe the federal government can stop funding for L.A. and cited the 10th Amendment, which addresses the powers of state and federal governments.

“We feel very strong the legal case is clear,” Garcetti said.

The particulars of Trump’s orders are still being dissected by Los Angeles leaders. But City Council President Herb Wesson told reporters that “the city is going to continue to operate the way it operates.”


Los Angeles will receive about $500 million this fiscal year from the federal government to pay for an array of services, including port security, anti-gang programs and senior citizen services.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said he doesn’t foresee any changes in his city’s sanctuary policies. Officials in San Jose said much the same thing.


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