WASHINGTON – The attorney general of California harshly criticized US President Donald Trump’s administration and praised the contributions of immigrants in a speech to reporters on Wednesday.
Xavier Becerra said at the National Press Club in Washington that California had the largest number of immigrant families in the United States and was the world’s sixth-largest economy, adding that without immigrants the state would not be No. 1 in technology and manufacturing.
Becerra, a Democrat and son of Mexican emigrants who was a member of the US House of Representatives for more than two decades, said immigrants had proven themselves to be the lifeblood of California’s economy and were responsible for revitalizing the American dream.
The state attorney general also slammed what he said was a lack of transparency by the Trump administration, saying his office had been stonewalled by the White House and forced to file two lawsuits to obtain documents pertaining to its decisions on environmental and immigration matters.
California has filed one lawsuit to obtain records on possible conflicts of interest within the Environmental Protection Agency.
The state also has filed a separate suit seeking documents that may shed light on the legal basis of the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which then-head of state Barack Obama created by executive order in 2012 to shield more than 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
In announcing the discontinuation of that program in September, Trump said Congress has until March 2018 to find a solution for these people – who were brought to the US illegally as children – before he begins phasing out DACA’s protections in March 2018.
Refusing to provide the documents California is requesting “is, I believe, an absolute abuse of power and discretion,” Becerra said, adding that the federal government is not above the law.
He also said California was at the vanguard in the US in terms of pro-immigrant and clean-energy policies.
“What happens in California ultimately happens in the rest of the nation,” he said.