Senate president leads battle to keep CA a sanctuary state

by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News

Since President Donald Trump took office, immigration, the environment, and labor are among major issues sparking a series of protests from coast to coast. 

California legislators have been vocal and active in creating new laws. 

 “We respect diversity and inclusivity and it has worked for us. We are the 6th largest economy in the world, because of immigrants who come from all over the world. We were always great before Trump came into power,” said Kevin de Leon, CA Senate President. “I think it is incumbent of politicians…”

“It’s my hope Trump and his cabinet can find value in what we do in California, by cleaning up the air that we breathe, by trying to provide safe clean drinking water, by including and respecting immigrants… by doing far-reaching climate change policies… by giving women equal pay for equal work… by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour,” he added. “These are the progressive values of a great state like California.” 

De Leon has been reaching out to ethnic communities within his district, especially to Filipinos.

Aside from representing a district that is nearly 18% Asian, and includes Pinoy hubs of Historic Filipinotown — including Eagle Rock, Koreatown, and Echo Park.

The San Diego-born and raised State Senator has had a history with Filipinos, through his mother who worked as A Certified Nursing Assistant. 

“When my mother passed away, she was very very sick. So the Filipino men and women in her network… really stepped up and came through for us,” he recalled. “That’s for the first time I started eating chicken adobo, pancit and lumpia and white rice — because they would cook up and show up at our house.” 

In the past weeks, state legislators have introduced several pro-immigrant bills, ranging from the banning of the creation of a Muslim registry, as well as aid for families facing deportation proceedings. 

But one of the biggest measures introduced in the Senate comes from de Leon himself — Senate Bill 54, the California Values Act — which would make California a sanctuary state. 

“We don’t have to be an extension, an arm of the federal government, to separate children from their mothers and mothers form their children,” he said. “It’s unwise we use our local tax dollars for the enforcement of federal immigration law.”

“Obviously immigration authorities will do what they need to do, but if you’re going to try to use local police departments’ local tax dollars to carry out massive deportations and splitting up regular families, they can count us out.”

While it has received some opposition form the Republicans in the California Senate, the biggest opposition has come from the President himself. 

President Trump has threaten to cut California’s federal funding, calling the defunding as a weapon to fight illegal immigration.

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