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Newsletter: Trump’s immigration policy puts California Republicans in difficult position

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Essential Politics
(LAT)

After eight days visiting family in Australia, it’s clear to me there’s no escaping America’s current supercharged immigration debate.

Aussies from all types of backgrounds wanted to talk about what’s happening with children coming across the southern border and how the politics might shape the race for control of Congress. (The discussions, of course, included the first lady’s fashion choices and the subsequent analysis of what message she may have been trying to send.)

Even a popular youth radio station dove into the issue.

It’s a political crisis which, as David Lauter wrote in Friday’s newsletter, is far from over. Lauter offered a nice summary of where things stand in Washington and the court battles ahead. The weekend provided little relief from the furor.

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Democrats responded skeptically Sunday to the Trump administration’s assertion that it has a process in place to reunite more than 2,000 “separated minors” with their parents, while Republican lawmakers sought to defend the president’s immigration policies and again promised that all the children taken from their parents in recent weeks were accounted for.

President Trump himself redoubled his denunciation of all unauthorized arrivals, even those engaging in the legal act of seeking asylum. He suggested that people crossing the border should be deported summarily, without a court hearing, writing, “We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.”

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Immigration advocates and Democratic lawmakers have voiced alarm and outrage over the fact that Trump’s executive order last week reversing himself on the policy of separating families did not incorporate any pledge to swiftly reunite them.

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As has been the case since Trump took office, California is among those challenging the administration. Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra announced he is joining nine other states to sue over the separation of immigrant families, alleging Trump’s family separation policy for immigrants in the country illegally violates due process.

Christine Mai-Duc reports how the latest chaos stemming from Trump’s immigration policies has upended campaign messages in California as the state’s House Republicans must navigate a tough spot. Several who have been known for hard-line immigration stances in the past felt the need to distance themselves from Trump.

California Rep. Ted Lieu was admonished for playing ProPublica’s haunting audio of children separated from their families on the U.S. House floor.

George Skelton wrote last week that the sound of children crying for their mothers and the disturbing sight of little kids confined in wire cages is more powerful than any president, and our Metro staff takes you inside the facilities where children are being held.

THE RACE FOR THE HOUSE

Democrats finally have their candidate in one of the top races in the country, with Harley Rouda claiming victory as fellow Democrat Hans Keirstead conceded the second spot late Sunday.

Just 125 votes separated the men in the down-to-the-wire race to take on Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in the 48th Congressional District.

See the most competitive congressional matchups in California.

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added four more California candidates to its Red to Blue priority list of House races after the primary. At least a couple of those congressional hopefuls are not so sure Nancy Pelosi should be the leader of the House Democrats.

You can also track the final election results. And if you live in Los Angeles County, see how your neighborhood voted.

THE RACE FOR GOVERNOR

Democrat Gavin Newsom has a dominant lead over Republican John Cox in the governor’s race, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times post-primary poll, report Seema Mehta and Phil Willon. The poll also found that some Californians are adapting their voting behavior in response to the state’s relatively new top-two primary system.

“Voters are learning how to strategically game the system,” said Bob Shrum, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

The post-primary survey also found that with 133 days until the election, nearly half of registered California voters are still undecided in the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Dianne Feinstein and state Sen. Kevin de León.

Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, two Democrats who clashed bitterly in the California gubernatorial primary, said their differences were behind them as they pledged to work together to get Newsom elected governor in November.

But recriminations remain over charter school advocates’ unprecedented effort to boost Villaraigosa’s candidacy, the most expensive independent expenditure effort in a gubernatorial primary in California history, report Mehta and Melanie Mason. The burgeoning political movement is now on shaky ground with Newsom and his aides, and its status as an effective political player in the state is in question.

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A reminder you can keep up with these races in the moment via our Essential Politics news feed on California politics.

CALIFORNIA INITIATIVE REFORM: FOUR YEARS LATER

This is the week when ballot measures will be certified for California’s November election. And as it’s been for most of modern times, the proposals with money and political muscle are expected to claim a spot.

That’s not quite what was hoped for under a sweeping 2014 overhaul of the initiative process, as John Myers notes in his Sunday column. A change that was designed to inspire more compromise with the Legislature has rarely had an impact -- in part, because lawmakers don’t seem that interested in talking to initiative backers.

In related news, Californians could vote to end daylight saving time under a measure sent to the governor. “This bill creates a pathway for California to stay on daylight saving time year-round,” Assemblyman Kansen Chu (D-San Jose) told his colleagues before they voted 63-4 to approve the proposal.

Voters this fall also will decide if all eggs should be cage-free.

NATIONAL POLITICS LIGHTNING ROUND

-- The Supreme Court refused Monday to block a wrongful-death suit against a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a 13-year-old boy who was walking on a sidewalk carrying a plastic pellet gun. The justices denied the county’s appeal seeking immunity for the officer, clearing the way for the parents’ suit to go before a jury.

-- Track the rest of the news from the court, which is wrapping its term this week.

-- Democrats may loathe Trump, hate his policies and detest his personality, but there’s one thing they can’t agree on: whether to support his impeachment and removal from office.

-- More than a year after North Carolina undid its “bathroom bill,” a legal battle now is simmering over a law that replaced it.

-- Don’t miss the AP’s fact check that begins: Trump is distorting the truth when it comes to the impact of his administration’s policy regarding separating children from their parents at the U.S. border.

-- Why a small-town restaurant owner asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave — and would do it again.

-- But now people angry over the owner’s decision about Huckabee are calling to complain. The problem? They have the wrong restaurant.

Get the latest about what’s happening in the nation’s capital on Essential Washington.

TODAY’S ESSENTIALS

-- This week’s California Politics Podcast digs down into the latest USC/Los Angeles Times polls on the state’s top races plus examines the intense week that was in the debate over illegal immigration.

-- Former President Obama returns to Los Angeles this week for a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. Tickets to the gala, which includes a performance by Christina Aguilera, top out at $100,000.

-- The Clippers are asking the Legislature for special treatment on environmental regulations so they can build a new basketball arena faster. They’ll get it, and they probably should, George Skelton writes in his Monday column. Special regulatory deals for major league sports teams are being handed out in Sacramento like free bobbleheads, but why not also give other projects relief from the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, Skelton asks.

-- California lawmakers last week watered down a net neutrality bill over the objection of its author, Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who alleged that the amendments gutted the bill and were adopted unfairly before he had a chance to testify at a public hearing.

-- As California’s campaign watchdog panel struggles to figure out what’s next following upheaval, the members deadlocked on a proposal to make its chairperson part time, and Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday appointed longtime Democratic Party activist Alice T. Germond as the chairwoman.

-- Years after resigning over a voting fraud conviction, former state Sen. Rod Wright registered as a Capitol lobbyist. Wright lists his only client as lobbyist and political consultant Richard Ross, who in turn advocates for clients including the California Applicants’ Attorneys Assn., Mercury Public Affairs, the California Business Roundtable and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3299.

LOGISTICS

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