After California made it clear that the state rejected Trump’s immigration agenda by attempting to extend “sanctuary” policies statewide, the president said he may be forced to take drastic measures and cut the state’s federal funding.
On a Sunday interview with Fox News‘ Bill O’Reilly, Trump discussed how this may have to be done to protect his firm immigration policies.
“I think it’s ridiculous — sanctuary cities,” said Trump to O’Reilly. “As you know, I’m very much opposed to sanctuary cities. They breed crime. There’s a lot of problems.”
In defiance of the president’s immigration plan, California’s bill would limit law enforcement’s involvement in deportations. The city of San Francisco also sued Trump over last week’s executive order that withholds money from “sanctuary cities.”
“The president’s executive order is not only unconstitutional, it’s un-American. That’s why we must stand up and oppose it,” said San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera last week. “We must be the guardians of democracy that President Obama spoke of in his farewell address.”
Now Trump is sending a message that he is prepared to withdraw federal funding from the state if it extends its sanctuary status.
“We give tremendous amounts of money to California. California in many ways is out of control,” said Trump.
California receives more than $100 billion in federal funding annually. $1.2 billion of that goes to San Francisco.
Trump called his move to defund California a “weapon.” O’Reilly asked if defending sanctuary cities and states would be his “weapon of choice.”
“Well, it’s a weapon,” said Trump in response. “I don’t want to defund the state or a city. I don’t want to defund anybody. I want to give them the money they need to properly operate as a city or a state. If they [are] going to have sanctuary cities, we may have to do that. Certainly, that would be a weapon.”
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León argues that California fuels the U.S. economy and is anything but “out of control.”
“Far from being out of control, California is creating jobs faster than any other state and immigrants are key to our economic prosperity,” said de León in a written statement. “We are an engine for the country’s innovation and job growth and our state annually pays more in federal taxes than it gets back. Our economy is the sixth largest in the world and thirteen percent of the country’s GDP.”
However, a sanctuary California could face bankruptcy if the state’s federal funding is in fact pulled.
“Breitbart News reported in May that Moody’s Global Credit Research fiscal stress-tests found that California was already the least prepared large state to weather the next recession. The credit rating service followed up in August with a warning to municipal bondholders that the plummeting financial condition of many California counties, cities, school districts and other agencies would soon result in large numbers of municipal bankruptcy filings,” writes Breitbart.
“The only time in the last 40 years California that suffered a 3.7 percent or more of GDP decline was the 4.4 percent plunge in 2009 during the Great Recession. Given the state’s precarious financial condition, any cut-off of federal funds by the Trump Administration could bankrupt California and many of the state’s local government entities.”
With that in mind, California should tread lightly and perhaps retreat from its battle against the Trump administration.
Editor’s note: Trump will not back down, nor should he. But this could be one of the toughest battles yet, depending on how serious California is about passing this legislation.