California's latest effort to thwart ICE is a doozy

California is currently struggling with yet another budget deadline and the legislature has sent a bill to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown which takes care of a few bits of housekeeping on that front. Along with the usual tax hikes and sleight-of-hand to move taxpayer dollars around, they’re “modernizing” the new marijuana industry by allowing pot samples at county fairs and home delivery of weed. (What could possibly go wrong?) But there’s a poison pill buried in with the rest of these scattershot measures which once again aims to further cripple immigration law enforcement. The state plans to forbid any expenditures slated for new beds for immigration detention or any new contracts for work on immigration detention centers.(Associated Press)

California lawmakers voted Thursday to set rules for the state’s nascent marijuana industry and to quash the growth of federal immigration detention as part of a $125 billion state budget lawmakers approved for the next fiscal year.

Lawmakers sent Gov. Jerry Brown a measure merging the state’s longstanding medical marijuana law with the much more permissive rules voters approved last year to legalize pot sales to people 21 and older. The state will develop standards for organic marijuana, allow pot samples at county fairs and permit home deliveries.

The Legislature also backed a measure to limit new beds for immigration detention, dealing a blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to boost deportation. The measure prevents local governments from signing or expanding contracts with federal authorities for immigration detention facilities. It also calls for the state’s attorney general to review conditions at the centers.

The original problem with California in this area was primarily one of dealing with so-called “sanctuary cities.” That kept the issue a bit more localized because there are still large parts of California, particularly in the more rural areas, where there are conservatives (at least as measured by left coast standards) in charge and they weren’t actually attempting to thwart the Constitution. But this measure will tie the hands of such municipalities and effectively fold them under the umbrella of what is now a “sanctuary state” by any reasonable definition.

Have we finally reached the point where the White House and the GOP majorities in the House and Senate will take notice of this? Surely there must be some line to cross which will qualify as a bridge too far. Rather than dancing around the budgetary line items of federal funding for San Francisco, Berkeley or Los Angeles we should, with this measure, be able to look at simply cutting off all federal law enforcement funding to the entire state of California. And just to drive the point home, every dime of that money should be redirected to either construction of the wall or additional ICE and Border Patrol officers.

If these are the sorts of frivolous and insulting games that California’s elected leaders want to play with our safety and security, I say Washington should get in on the action. Cut them off at the knees and let them figure out where to get the money to make up the difference. Perhaps they can do it with a new tax on all that home marijuana delivery. Or perhaps the profits from their new, super speedy bullet train which I’m sure should be going into operation any… day… now…