It had to happen.
We knew that when state Sen. Pro Tem Kevin de León and others hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to help California defend itself against a Trump administration weeks before Donald J. Trump took office, that it would result in retaliation from the national Capitol.
Was anyone shocked that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions marched into a hotel conference room steps from the state Capitol on Tuesday and announced federal lawsuits against California for what he described as efforts to undermine the federal government’s responsibility of enforcing immigration law?
Was anyone surprised that de León and Gov. Jerry Brown quickly responded?
That’s what happens when Congress fails to deliver on immigration reform, even something as popular with the American public as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
That’s what happens when a president (and in this case, his attorney general) insists on carrying out policies in such a way that federal courts constantly rule against. Remember, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra has lost only one of about 20 lawsuits he has filed against the Trump administration.
Look, there is a problem with undocumented immigration, but it’s not the one that Sessions described. In his speech to the California Peace Officers Association, Sessions complained about the state’s “irrational, unfair and unconstitutional policies” that have thwarted federal agents from doing their job.
The governor labeled Sessions’ appearance and speech “a political stunt.”
De León added, “California has concluded it will not commit its limited resources on Trump’s warped view” of immigration enforcement.
Brown, de León and Holder accuse federal agents of tearing apart families and not going after hardened criminals. Sessions laments the lack of closer cooperation by the state’s law enforcement officers in detaining criminals with undocumented status.
In recent weeks, federal agents have stepped up their enforcement efforts. Those actions have led some undocumented workers fearful of returning to work, causing employers to worry about a worker shortage.
Of course, there would have been no need for all this drama had Congress done its job and fixed an immigration system that has been deeply broken for generations.
The nation’s greatest economy should not be relying on a cat-and-mouse approach to provide workers in certain industries like agriculture. A work visa program that is fair to all involved and reasonably priced is needed.
California should not be spending its resources to protect undocumented families who have contributed to the state’s wealth.
Not one California leader has embraced an “open border.” Not one of them has said undocumented criminals should be allowed to roam freely and commit crimes.
We wonder when Congress will get around to doing its job. The courts should not be the ones deciding what will and what won’t pass for immigration.