President Donald Trump said Thursday he is considering pulling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from California, warning that the nation’s most populous state would turn into a “crime nest” without the federal agents.
Trump said heavily Democratic California, which gave Hillary Clinton a resounding victory in the 2016 presidential race, was “doing a lousy management job.” He pointed to “a disgrace, the sanctuary city situation” and lamented the “protection of these horrible criminals.”
The president’s comments were the latest effort by the Trump administration to pressure “sanctuary cities” to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
The Justice Department has threatened to deny millions of dollars in federal grant money to communities that refuse to comply with a statute requiring information-sharing with federal law enforcement. It’s an essential part of Trump’s efforts to crack down on cities and states that refuse to help enforce U.S. immigration laws.
Trump issued the threat during a meeting with state and local officials on school safety and gun violence. He told Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others that his administration has targeted members of the violent MS-13 gang but has been “getting no help from the state of California.”
“Frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California you would have a crime nest like you’ve never seen in California. All I’d have to do is say is, ‘ICE and Border Patrol, let California alone,’ you’d be inundated. You would see crime like nobody has ever seen crime in this country.”
He added: “If we ever pulled our ICE out, and we ever said, ‘Hey, 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’m thinking about doing it.”
The White House did not immediately comment on the president’s suggestions.
I mean, let's dissect this. First of all, Trump is 100% okay with making the people of California suffer if it makes them bend to his will. That's not the act of a president, that's the act of a fascist dictator. That's literally the approach Rodrigo Duterte is taking in the Philippines right now and 20,000 people have died at the hands of his paramilitary police squads selectively enforcing order against drug gangs. If Trump's right, he's going to have the blood of thousands on his hands.
Second, I'm pretty sure California would be thrilled to have ICE go away for a while, which is the point. The state would be very happy not to have to worry about feds coming in and grabbing undocumented folks willy-nilly. If California's right, Trump is going to look like a complete idiot (I know, what a stretch.)
Either way, this is a colossally bad idea for Trump, and I'm sure he's being talked out of this right now.