Sacramento Democrats Fire on Fort Sumter

Heading into 2018, but still flying below the national radar, the state of California is on a confrontation course with the federal government in Washington, D.C. Given that Washington is crawling with reporters—because, these days, there is apparently no news that somehow does not involve or concern Donald J. Trump—it might seem odd that you’re not reading about it every day. But here we are:

The acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says politicians who run sanctuary cities should be charged with crimes. Thomas Homan said in an interview Tuesday with Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto that the Department of Justice needs to file charges against municipalities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities and deny them funding. He also says politicians should be held “personally accountable” for crimes committed by people living in the U.S. illegally. Homan says, “We’ve got to start charging some of these politicians with crimes.”

What provoked this extraordinary statement is California’s open defiance of federal immigration law, embodied in the state’s becoming a “sanctuary” for illegal aliens as of January 1. Under the new state law, nowhere in California may police ask about an individual’s immigration status, nor may local authorities cooperate with federal officials on immigration enforcement.

Let’s be as clear about this as we possibly can: not since South Carolina fired on Fort Sumter, thus precipitating Southern secession and the Civil War, has any state of the Union so brazenly thumbed its nose at the federal government. (And not just on immigration; California also just became the largest state to legalize marijuana, setting up a separate but no less serious conflict with federal drug laws.) And, once again, it’s Democrats who are doing the thumbing.

The situation is rich in irony. Southern Democrats insisted they were acting constitutionally under the 10th Amendment by defying anti-slavery sentiment; Southern Democrats, after Lincoln was assassinated by one of their number, continued to wage a rear-guard action at the state level in the defeated South throughout the Andrew Johnson and Grant administrations; Southern Democrats continued to use the same argument during the Civil Rights movement to justify Jim Crow laws and the poll tax. It took not only acts of Congress to certify the plain outcome of the Civil War, but also a series of federal court decisions, backed up at times by troops.

Had Lincoln, and the country, dodged Booth’s bullet, there is a strong case to be made that he would have declared the Democratic Party a seditious organization and outlawed it—especially as Democrats demonstrated, through their postwar actions, that they had every intention of returning Lincoln’s “charity for all” of the second inaugural address, with malice toward him, the GOP, and the country at large.

Now California Democrats—as radical a group of anti-Americans as you will find in this country, whether legal or “undocumented”—have again fired on Fort Sumter. And once again (don’t kid yourselves), the goal is de facto and, later, de jure, secession from the United States of America, as part of the Aztlan-inspired Reconquista of what Hispanic radicals consider lost territory.

Never mind that California has been a state since 1850, and fought on the Union side in the Civil War. Never mind that California was settled by hard-working New Englanders and Midwesterners, who transformed it from a wilderness into the most prosperous and, later, largest, state in the Union. Never mind that, since the early 20th century, California has been the pot of gold at the end of the American rainbow, where both winners and losers went to seek their fortunes. The Mexicans, who failed to settle the territory properly in the first place, now want it back.

There’s another major irony at work here. When I was a boy, growing up in San Diego in the 1950s and early ‘60s, the governor of the state—then at its apogee—was Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, an affable Irish-Catholic Democrat who governed at first within the consensus of California political sentiment at the time, building infrastructure and raising the profile and quality of the University of California. Politically, Brown leaned to the left, to be sure, but was otherwise unremarkable, having followed the Republican Goodwin “Goody” Knight into office; it was only after his second term, after he’d radicalized and the state had begun to deteriorate, that he was defeated by Ronald Reagan.

Now the governor of California (as he was during my years in San Francisco in the late 1970s and early ’80s; and as he is again now, having nothing else to do) is Edmund G. Brown, Jr., better known as Jerry. Formerly a simply flaky novitiate who decided the priesthood would reduce his chances of dating Linda Ronstadt, Jerry has “evolved” into as hard a radical Leftist as you will find anywhere in office, living proof of the contemporary uselessness of a Jesuit education, and of the crushing guilt of certain members of the Irish Catholic community in America.

So now the feds are beefing up for battle with Jerry and his pro-illegal allies in Sacramento who passed the “California Values Act.”

Taking a jab at Gov. Jerry Brown, President Trump’s top immigration chief on Wednesday said he was preparing to “significantly increase” his agency’s enforcement presence in California because of last year’s passage of a landmark “sanctuary state” law.

“California better hold on tight,” Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said on Fox News. “They are about to see a lot more special agents, a lot more deportation officers.” The comments were the latest salvo between Trump immigration officials and California leaders over the law that took effect Jan. 1.

California has thus descended into a state of lawlessness masquerading as state law, and this will likely end about as well for the Golden State as the same shenanigans did for South Carolina in 1865. The Trump Administration, which is spoiling for this fight and will have it unless California backs down (which it won’t), is fixing to make an example of Brown. True, there doesn’t appear to be a man with the savvy and moral fiber of Ulysses S. Grant on the scene at the moment to enforce the Constitution—but in 1861, when war broke out, Grant was a retired Army officer struggling to operate a tanning business in Galena, Illinois. Three years later, he was the Lieutenant General in command of the entire Union army.

The issue of federal nullification was decisively settled by Lincoln, Grant, political will and force of arms. It’s to be hoped arms won’t be necessary to bring California and the renegade Democrats to heel, although a confrontation between, say, ICE agents and San Francisco cops could easily provoke it.

In the meantime, patriotic Californians might well consider a campaign of lawfare against “sanctuary” status:

  • Now that the residents of the state have been effectively laid bare to criminal aliens, law-abiding Californians should demand that the state lower their property valuations for tax purposes, and renters should demand rebates, given the greater jeopardy legal Californians now face both in person and in property. Hurt the state where it counts: taxes.
  • California federal taxpayers, who have been philosophically and practically disenfranchised as American citizens, and whose legal votes will now be nullified by an increasing number of illegals (who will soon enough demand and get the right to vote in American elections), should petition the federal government to reduce their federal tax liability until order is restored. What are they paying for?
  • Class-action lawsuits should be filed against Brown, et al., for disenfranchising lawful U.S. persons from the national government. Let’s test the limits of elected-official liability, if and when another Kate Steinle case occurs—as it almost inevitably will. Did you hear about this one?:

The father of a man killed by an illegal immigrant is “furious” about California’s sanctuary state status and he’s putting up a fight. Don Rosenberg’s son, Drew Rosenberg, was on his motorcycle in San Francisco in 2010 when a man who was in the United States illegally struck and killed him, running over his body several times in an apparent attempt to flee the scene.

Roberto Galo, a Honduran national, was convicted of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, sentenced to six months in jail and ultimately deported in 2013. Rosenberg said he’s “furious” about California’s sanctuary policy, and he hopes President Donald Trump’s Justice Department will go after state and local officials who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

He revealed that he’s working on an initiative that would repeal California’s sanctuary state law and require law enforcement to cooperate with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). He encouraged people to visit fightsanctuarystate.com to donate or get involved.

The Left’s constant push to erode the legitimacy of the Constitution, which has been ongoing for decades, has now reached a critical stage. It’s time for pushback. As Lincoln said in his famous “house divided” speech of 1858, a nation cannot exist half-slave and half-free: “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”

The solid-Democrat South wanted a slave state, and precipitated the bloodiest conflict in American history in order to get it. Today’s Democrats wish nothing less than to finish the job their forebears began in 1861: to destroy the United States of America as it’s existed since 1865.

“California values”: will the Trump administration let them get away with it?

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About Michael Walsh

Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and foreign correspondent for Time Magazine, for which he covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints (winner, 2004 American Book Award for fiction), and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the recent nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace. A sequel, The Fiery Angel, was published by Encounter in May 2018. Follow him on Twitter at @dkahanerules (Photo credit: Peter Duke Photo)