CA lawmaker pushes back against Trump and ICE’s anti-immigrant rhetoric
LOS ANGELES — Filipinos joined 41 children from 14 countries who became US citizens in a ceremony aboard the Battleship USS Iowa Museum.
California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris, their guest speaker, took a jab at the Trump administration for its anti-immigrant policies.
“I think it’s absolutely wrong to have any policy that would divide families, and in particular that would take parents from their children, and children from their parents,” said Harris. “That does not reflect the values of who we are as a country, and I’m opposed to any policy that would do that.”
Harris, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, told the group of new citizens that whenever they feel their future is threatened, they must speak up.
Harris is among California lawmakers who have pushed back repeatedly against President Donald Trump’s characterization of immigrants.
Trump has made efforts not only to eliminate illegal immigration — but to even curb legal immigration, by prioritizing those with proven financial standing over immigrants with family ties.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, is certainly ready to take on Trump’s policies.
Thomas Homan, acting director of ICE, recently requested Congress to increase his agency’s budget by $1.2 billion.
In his testimony, Homan stressed that ICE is conducting a campaign of fear — intended to alienate and criminalize immigrants, carried out in a more aggressive policing measures.
Some immigrant rights advocates have slammed ICE agents for using surveillance, force and intimidation to locate and arrest immigrants in their homes and places of work.
They criticize the passage of two anti-immigration bills in the house: one takes away federal funding from sanctuary cities that protect undocumented immigrants, and the other which increases maximum penalties for undocumented immigrants who are repeat offenders.
“It will not fix anything. It will just further criminalize our immigrant communities, mandatory sentences will just overcrowd jails, and put resources where they should not be putting people into jail beds, when they should be out in the community,” said Dean Santos, from Educators for Fair Consideration.
As immigrants in America continue to face opposition from the Trump administration, Senator Harris made a challenge to young immigrants, urging them to embrace the responsibilities of being citizens by getting involved, running for office, voting, and working to make the U.S. a more just and equal place.