Calif. Will Fight on Immigration if Provoked, Top Attorney Says

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By Laura D. Francis

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) isn’t looking to pick a fight with the Trump administration.

But if President Donald Trump wants to target states like California that are “pushing back,” then “we’re going to be ready” to fight those efforts, he said June 14.

California has been at the forefront of challenges to the Trump administration’s immigration policies, passing laws restricting cooperation with federal enforcement efforts and filing and participating in lawsuits against the federal government.

There’s evidence that the administration may be responding by focusing enforcement efforts on the state, Becerra said.

Earlier in 2018, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced audits of the employment verification paperwork of 77 employers in San Francisco and 122 employers in Los Angeles.

Economic Engine

“What we do is not because we’re trying to hit back, it’s because if we don’t do this California won’t continue to be the economic engine for the country,” Becerra said at the American Immigration Lawyers Association conference in San Francisco.

“My job is to defend everything that has allowed us to bump Great Britain from the list of top economic powers,” he said.

Becerra referred to a recent finding by the Department of Commerce that California’s gross domestic product is $2.747 trillion, higher than the $2.625 trillion of the U.K. as reported by the International Monetary Fund.

“If someone wants to get in our way, then we fight,” Becerra said. “At the end of the day, it’s good business,” he said.

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