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Immigration issues drive pro- and anti-Trump rallies as president visits California

FILE: A U.S. border patrol officer stands near prototypes of President Trump's proposed border wall in San Diego.
FILE: A U.S. border patrol officer stands near prototypes of President Trump's proposed border wall in San Diego.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

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As President Trump visits Southern California on Tuesday, people on both sides of the immigration
debate plan to pressure him on a slew of issues, including sanctuary policies and the fate of young immigrants who arrived as children. 

Other national issues may emerge in the president's speeches and comments while he is in the state, but immigration is the dominant issue that has galvanized his base and mobilized his opponents.

On Monday afternoon, Melody Klingenfuss prepared for an evening pro-immigrant rally  in Beverly Hills ahead of President Trump’s anticipated visit.

“The message that we want Donald Trump to take away is that we will continue supporting immigrant rights, that California is an immigrant rights state," said Klingenfuss, an organizer with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. She is one of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants with protection from deportation and work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

The Obama-era program allows young unauthorized immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to temporarily live and work in the country legally. The fate of DACA recipients remains in limbo after President Trump rescinded the program last September and Congress failed to adopt legislation addressing their status.

Klingenfuss said DACA is just one of the issues immigrant advocates seek to highlight during Trump's visit.

"We will uphold our values," she said. "That includes immigrant rights, LGBT rights, Muslim rights, refugee rights ... anything that represents the marginalized groups that have been attacked by his administration."  

At the opposite end of the political spectrum, Trump supporters plan to cheer on the administration's ever tighter restrictions on immigration.

His backers have organized to rally in the Otay Mesa area near the U.S.-Mexico border, where the president is scheduled to view prototypes for the border wall he wants to build. 

Don Rosenberg of the group Fight Sanctuary State said he doesn't plan to travel to the San Diego rally. But he said he wants to let the president know that he supports the federal government’s recent lawsuit against California for its so-called sanctuary policies.

The lawsuit, filed last week, targets three recent state laws that limit cooperation between federal immigration agents and local police and businesses.
 
“The biggest thing is that sanctuary cities are a threat to public safety," said Rosenberg. "Our main message right now has to be just focused on, you know, we are glad the Department of Justice has finally filed suit. It is going to be a long process, because it will end up in the Supreme Court, but we are fully supportive of it and will be the whole way through." 

Rosenberg became an activist after his son died nearly eight years ago, following a traffic accident involving an unlicensed driver from Honduras. The driver was in the country under a temporary protected status program that the Trump administration has moved to restrict.
 
Rosenberg said his group hopes to launch an initiative to repeal Senate Bill 54, the state law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October that prohibits local police from holding immigrants, who can otherwise be released, at the request of immigration agents.

"If everybody from the governor to the attorney general to our Legislature won't protect us, then we are going to force them to protect us," Rosenberg said.

S.B. 54 was authored by state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who will be among the speakers at a rally Tuesday in San Ysidro. Speakers will urge Trump to prioritize a permanent solution for DACA recipients instead of a border wall.