Politics & Government

Gov. Newsom defends immigrants, Latinos, says California is ‘most un-Trump state’

Gov. Gavin Newsom strongly defended a $215 billion budget and the immigrant community.
Gov. Gavin Newsom strongly defended a $215 billion budget and the immigrant community. jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

Gov. Gavin Newsom used a recent teleconference call with Latino media to mount a defiant attitude toward the Trump administration’s efforts to strike many of the gains the immigrant community has made under previous administrations.

“It’s a point of pride. I love this state,” said Newsom during a 40-minute call. “I love the diversity that represents this state.

“We are the most un-Trump state in the United States of America!”

The Democratic governor, who signed a $24.5 billion budget last month, stressed state funds being spent for expanded health care for all regardless of immigration status up to the age of 26.

“Yes, I am committed to getting 100 percent to universal (health care). This was an incremental step, and I look forward to doing more,” said the first-term governor.

Newsom, who was lieutenant governor and mayor of San Francisco,

He also touted extended pay for family leave, greater funding for education, and, more money for a temporary shelter for immigrants seeking asylum. Funds have also been set aside to provide legal assistance for documented and undocumented families “when they are terrorized by tweets (or) terrorized by threats of ICE and deportation.”

But, his biggest salvo against President Donald J. Trump was saved for census-related issues.

The governor had expected a different Supreme Court decision, which ruled 5-4 against Trump’s efforts to put a question on the census asking if a person is a U.S. citizen.

Despite the ruling, Newsom believes the damage has already been done and that Trump may not give up on the issue.

“Regardless of what the Supreme Court had determined with regard to the citizenship question, all of that attention that the administration has placed on this issue over the course of the last year has done enormous damage,” said Newsom, who noted the budget he signed includes an additional $84 million for census outreach efforts.

That brings the 2-year total to $187 million.

“No jurisdiction in the country is doing more to supplement the census,” said Newsom.

Ten years ago, California spent $2 million on census outreach campaigns.

“It gives you a sense of the magnitude to which we are committed to addressing Trump and Trumpism,” said Newsom.

The governor said the citizenship question is an effort to “suppress the power and potency of the Latino voice in this state and across the country.”

Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who chairs the state’s Complete Count Commission, said residents must fill out the census.

“Our message is simple: Trump wins if we do not participate in the census,” said Padilla before introducing Newsom on the teleconference.

“So, even though we won the legal fight over the citizenship question, our work is still cut out for us,” said Padilla. “We will remain vigilant in defending the integrity of the census because we don’t put it past this administration to keep trying multiple ways to discourage participation by Californians and to undermine the census.”

Experts predicted that up to 1.6 million Californians would have been undercounted if a citizenship question was on the census. Newsom that the state could lose up to $1,000 for each undercounted resident.

“That’s why we are putting so much money up,” said Newsom. “The return on investment will pay for itself many times over.”

Not everyone was happy with the state budget.

“Celebration is the wrong word to describe a record-spending state budget,” said state Senate Republican Leader Sharon Grove, R-Bakersfield, in a press statement. “Californians have some things to be thankful for, but plenty to worry about as many economists fear that an economic downturn is approaching.”

Grove said the budget hurts hard-working families “because it includes $2 billion in new taxes, and recklessly grows government spending by nearly $49 billion from 2016.”