Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Immigration raids + Getting money to Paradise + Batjer takes over utilities commission

Protestors rally outside of immigration offices in Sacramento to keep families together

Protestors rally to keep families together at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Sacramento on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.
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Protestors rally to keep families together at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Sacramento on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.

Good Monday morning, California! And happy break to those taking some time off during recess.

No sessions today.


President Donald Trump initiated a flurry of fear last month when he announced deportation raids would begin across 10 U.S. cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were expected to target 2,000 individuals and family units who are under deportation order because they failed to appear in immigration court.

But amid political backlash across the country, Trump walked back his threat on Twitter and said he’d postpone the removals to allow time for Democrats and Republicans to work toward an immigration compromise. He promised to resume the order after two weeks if the two parties could not find compromise.

Then last week, Trump reopened the deportation door and, according to the The New York Times, raids were to officially begin yesterday. This time, administration officials said they expected to have “collateral” deportations, meaning they would arrest anyone within the vicinity of an individual on their raids list.

News of the raids instigated another wave of fear and frustration from immigrants and their advocates, and from politicians from every corner of the country. They decried Trump’s plan to arrest families, and they questioned how ICE agents planned to fill already crowded detention facilities packed with migrants who’ve recently crossed the border in record numbers.

Jess Morales Rocketto, chair of the Families Belong Together advocacy coalition, said “cruelty is the point” of the raids, and that they will “terrorize children, rip families apart and create chaos across the country.”

“The administration is executing a cruel, white supremacist agenda to traumatize families instead of taking action to address horrific conditions that are killing migrant children in U.S. government custody,” she continued.

As of Sunday evening, no raids were reported in San Francisco and Los Angeles, though New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed on Twitter that there were three reported ICE situations in the city on Sunday.

As Sunday came and went and the raids as they were expected never happened, news outlets from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles underscored the theory that Trump’s rhetoric and deportation threats were meant to scare immigrant communities.

Trump told reporters on Friday that his administration is “focused on criminals as much as we can before we do anything else.”

The president has long vowed to deport immigrants living in the country illegally, and reconfirmed his commitment to do so again last week when he said he has an “obligation” to remove individuals who are not authorized to stay in the U.S.

Ahead of the raids, California Democrats took to social media to denounce the administration and pass around flyers informing immigrants of their rights.

“It’s incredibly important that people know their rights,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a video. “California is the most diverse state in our democracy. It’s incredibly important that we express those values.”

“It’s shameful that @realDonaldTrump continues to stir up fear across the country,” tweeted Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “What ICE plans this weekend does not make our communities safer. It targets people in this country searching for a better life and creates trauma among children often US citizens. #raids


It’s been eight months since the the Camp Fire ripped through the town of Paradise and Butte County territory, and Newsom recertified the areas as eligible to receive federal assistance on Thursday.

Butte County and Paradise will continue to receive funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which includes loans, grants and “technical assistance.”

According to Newsom’s office, 2010 Census data estimated there were close to 27,000 people living in Paradise. After the Camp Fire burned 90 percent of the town, destroyed more than 14,000 residences and killed 85 people, the population is now estimated to be around 2,000 residents.

“We’re standing with this community for the long haul,” Newsom said in a press statement. “Starting with my first budget action in January that backfilled the County’s lost property taxes, to additional financial support in June’s budget, the state continues to work closely with the community in coordinating the recovery process and planning for the future.”

“(Thursday’s) action will no doubt unlock precious resources to help the town and surrounding communities recover,” Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, said. “This hope and optimism of all levels of government across the political spectrum working together will ensure a stronger and more resilient Paradise into the future.”


Bryan Anderson writes...

Before signing a $26 billion bill to deal with the state’s ongoing wildfire threats, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his Marybel Batjer, secretary of the state’s Government Operations Agency, will soon take on a new role in his administration.

She’ll serve as the new president of the California Public Utilities Commission. The commission regulates gas and electric companies and has the authority to approve utility rate increases.

“The reason she is being put in this position is she is about reorganization, governance, implementation, building collaborations and partnerships, and she’s one of the best in the business,” Newsom said. “I can’t be more pleased she was willing to take up this mantle and this task.”

Earlier this year, Newsom appointed Batjer to lead a strike team to offer recommendations on how to improve the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Batjer’s report is expected to be released by the end of the month or early-August.

For your radar — Sens. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, and Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger, will be in Fresno this morning for a hearing on health care shortages in the Central Valley. The lawmakers are headed south for the second of six hearings on social determinants on childhood well-being in California.

They are expected to learn about issues facing Fresno community members, which touch on the environment, land use, transportation, immigration and civic engagement, according to the press release.

They are meeting from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Fresno City Hall.


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Hannah Wiley joined The Bee as a legislative reporter in 2019. She produces the morning newsletter for Capitol Alert and previously reported on immigration, education and criminal justice. She’s a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Saint Louis University and Northwestern.