President Donald Trump threatened Thursday to pull the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency out of California to punish the state for what he called its efforts to shield criminal gang members in “sanctuary cities.”
Trump was addressing a meeting of state and local government leaders at the White House who had gathered to discuss how to improve safety and security at the nation’s schools, in the wake of the mass shooting last week at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
After praising the work of Attorney General Jeff Sessions in fighting against gangs, Trump addressed the question of opposition form the State of California directly:
They [the MS-13 gang] actually have franchises going to Los Angeles. We’re getting no help from the State of California. I mean, frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you would have a crime mess like you’ve never seen in California. All I’d have to do is say, “ICE and Border Patrol, let California alone.” You’d be inundated — you would see crime like no one has ever seen crime in this country. And yet, we get no help from the State of California. 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 — you know it, because you’re working on it — the protection of these horrible criminals in California, and other places, but in California, that if we ever pulled our ICE out, and we ever said, “Let California alone, let them figure it out for themselves,” in two months, they’d be begging for us to come back. They would be begging. And you know what? I am thinking about doing it.
Ironically, one of the frequent themes of anti-Trump and pro-amnesty protests in California is the demand to push ICE out of California. Democrat-dominated cities have passed resolutions to limit cooperation with ICE and vowed to defy the federal government’s attempt to enforce immigration laws, with the mayor of Oakland even promising to go to jail in protest. Trump threatened to take activists at their word and let the state live with the consequences.
One of the officials present at the White House was Mayor Christine Hunschofsky of Parkland, who thanked the president for his “Listening Session” on Wednesday, where students from the school addressed the president directly, along with parents and community members. Hunschofsky praised Trump for “being committed to action.”