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From left: Communications coordinator Sarah Wesley, the Rev. Martin Garcia, Deputy Editor Kasia Anderson and Editor in Chief Robert Scheer.

California continues to earn praise for its leading role in the fight against President Trump’s harsh stance on undocumented immigration. Many local governments have adopted "sanctuary city" status, and a new bill that would make California a "sanctuary state” has moved to the state Senate.

But what more could the progressive Golden State do to support immigrant communities? Controversial ICE raids continue in many Los Angeles neighborhoods, inciting fear throughout immigrant communities and prompting some to argue that the state isn't quite the progressive haven it's made out to be.

The Truthdig editorial team, led by Editor in Chief Robert Scheer, sat down with the Rev. Martin Garcia on Thursday to discuss the next steps in California’s immigration policy. Watch the discussion below:

Garcia is a staff organizer with LA Voice, an organization dedicated to improving Los Angeles communities. LA Voice, which operates as part of the faith-based PICO National Network, has worked with documented and undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles for decades.

The organization involves and educates residents of the area. "Each month, community residents are meeting at their local congregations to learn political strategy, power analysis, and the power of relationships," LA Voice’s website states. "LA Voice has successfully worked to increase access to health care, make neighborhoods safer, improve public schools, build affordable housing, and mobilize infrequent voters in historically low-income communities."

During the live discussion, Garcia and the Truthdig team discussed instances of human rights violations in California's history, the label "sanctuary city" and California's agricultural economy.

"We don't want to repeat the history of the 1920s, when even U.S. citizens were deported," Garcia said. Scheer agreed, noting that these mass deportations could become "the greatest human rights crisis since slavery" in America.

Garcia also noted that the federal government needs California. "We have a lot of leverage to negotiate with the federal government," he said.

Finally, the team discussed pending legislation in California that would provide more protection to immigrants, SB 31 and SB 54.

Despite this legislation, the team agreed that California politicians and liberal constituents could be more aggressive in pursuing pro-immigrant policies.

"The life blood of California, from day one, has been immigration," Scheer stated. "What happened to getting sensible immigration reform?"

The ultimate solution, Garcia concluded, is presenting a humanizing picture of immigrants and understanding their realities.

Watch the full discussion in the video above, and check out past editions of “Live at Truthdig” here.

—Posted by Emma Niles

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