Trump Considers Pulling ICE Out of California

(Charles Reed / AP)

At a White House meeting Thursday, President Trump said he is considering pulling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents out of California.

“We’re getting no help from the state of California,” he said. “Frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you would have a crime nest like you’ve never seen in California. All I’d have to do is say ‘ICE and Border Patrol, let California learn.’ 

Trump also criticized California state leadership, saying, “They are doing a lousy management job. They have the highest taxes in the nation and they don’t know what’s happening out there. Frankly, it’s a disgrace, the sanctuary city situation, the protection of these horrible criminals in California and other places. If we ever pulled our ICE out and we ever said, ‘Hey, let California learn and let them figure it out for themselves,’ in two months, they’d be begging for us to come back. They would be begging.”

CNN reports:

It was not clear how serious Trump was about the proposal. His administration has stepped up enforcement of immigration laws in California as an effort to pressure sanctuary cities, which is a term for local jurisdictions who have some policy of non-cooperation or coordination with federal immigration authorities.

California is also a key border for the United States, making it [unlikely] Border Patrol or Customs and Border Protection could pull out of the state. The San Ysidro border crossing is the busiest land port of entry in the entire Western Hemisphere, let alone the United States, and the California border is a major focus of preventing drug smuggling into the US.

Last month, ICE Director Thomas Homan said he was preparing to “significantly increase” ICE’s presence in California because of its passage of a “sanctuary state” law in 2017.

“California better hold on tight,” Homan said on Fox News. “They are about to see a lot more special agents, a lot more deportation officers.”

According to the Los Angeles Times:

Research has shown sanctuary cities have lower crime rates and that immigrants generally commit fewer crimes than U.S. citizens. But on Fox News Wednesday, Homan stuck to a strategy Trump has used throughout his campaign and tenure as president: highlighting cases of people killed by immigrants who were in the country illegally.

“If the politicians in California don’t want to protect their communities then ICE will,” Homan said.

Truthdig political correspondent Bill Boyarsky added, “[Trump] could pull all ICE people out of California and it wouldn’t interfere with the declining crime rate since local cops, not the ICE, goes after gangs.  And if he pulled all the ICE cops out, who would run the detention centers?”

California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris sent a joint letter to Homan in January requesting information on rumors that ICE would soon conduct raids in the state.

He responded in an interview on Fox News, saying, “We don’t conduct raids. We conduct targeted enforcement operations. We don’t go into neighborhoods, knocking on a bunch of doors, looking for people that are different than us.”


Emily Wells
​Emily Wells is an Ear to the Ground blogger at Truthdig. As a journalist, she began as a crime reporter at the Pulitzer-winning daily newspaper, The Press-Enterprise...
Emily Wells

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