Protests await Trump on first presidential trip to California

By Daniel Uria  |  March 13, 2018 at 6:17 AM
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March 12 (UPI) -- For the first time since taking office, President Donald Trump is set to visit California on Tuesday, where he is expected to face protests over his immigration policies.

Trump will fly to the San Diego area Tuesday morning and then travel to the Otay Mesa border crossing to view prototypes for his proposed wall between the United States and Mexico.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department has closed streets and parking near the area where the wall prototypes are being held in advance of potential protests. Authorities also banned items such as guns and other weapons, as well as sticks and poles, including those used for signs, to create "an area that is safe for all individuals to peacefully exercise their right to protest."

The Women's March San Diego group plans to erect a sign protesting the border wall visible to Trump as he arrives through the air. A pro-Trump group called San Diegans for Secure Borders is also planning a rally.

Trump is scheduled to speak to troops at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar before headlining a Republican National Committee fundraiser Tuesday night in Beverly Hills.

Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Horace Frank said no permitted protests in the form of marches are planned, but authorities expect to see demonstrations from both Trump protesters and supporters during his visit.

"We are prepared for anything," he said.

Ron Gochez, a political secretary with political group Union del Barrio's Los Angeles chapter, is planning a Beverly Hills protest.

"He cannot step foot in this state and not expect an organized response to denounce him," Gochez said of Trump. "We have dignity and we can only demonstrate that through denouncing Trump and fighting for freedom from fear. We are not just going to stand with our arms crossed while they deport us or attack Muslims or women's rights."

Prior to Trump's visit, an unnamed administration official accused California officials of "bankrolling" criminal human-smuggling rings through the state's sanctuary policies.

Trump administration officials said California laws that extend protections to people living in the United States illegally endanger federal agents and make immigrant communities more dangerous.

"We're giving them a selling point," an official said. "We're lining their pockets. Sanctuary cities are bankrolling the very criminal organizations that can smuggle terrorists, that smuggle weapons, that smuggle drugs and have killed border patrol agents."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke at an event in Sacramento on Wednesday where he was critical of of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's recent tip-offs to immigrant populations of impending raids and deportations and said he will "use every power I have to stop" California from impeding federal immigration officers.

Gov. Jerry Brown sent Trump a letter Monday embracing the positive impact of immigration on the state's economy, which he boasted as critical to the nation's overall success.

"Our prosperity is not built on isolation," Brown wrote. "Quite the opposite. California thrives because we welcome immigrants and innovators from across the globe."

While Trump isn't expected to meet with state leaders, Brown invited the president to visit high-speed rail construction in the Central Valley after his border wall trip.

"After you've examined your wall prototypes on the border, I invite you to head north to the Central Valley -- the heart of California," Brown wrote in the letter. "You see, in California we are focusing on bridges, not walls. And that's more than just a figure of speech."

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