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LouderThanWords .pdf


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PHOTO BY LEIGH VO GEL /GE T T Y IMAGES FOR PEOPLE FOR THE AMERIC AN WAY

louder
than words
challenging Trump. One would require
a public vote on any border wall costing more than $1 billion. Lara’s office
believes the law would hold up in court
because of the wall’s effects on California’s environment and economy if
it slices through wildlife habitats and
trade routes. The second bill, a reintroduction of legislation vetoed in 2016 by
Gov. Jerry Brown, would regulate cityand county-run immigrant detention
facilities, setting health and safety standards and banning contracts with forprofit companies. The third bill, aimed
at blocking Trump’s “Muslim registry,”
prohibits state agencies from helping
the federal government compile a database of residents’ religious affiliations.
California and other left-leaning
states will likely also file lawsuits “when
the Trump Administration pushes an
agenda” that they oppose, much as Texas did over President Barack Obama’s
attempts to shield certain groups of
immigrants from deportation, Winkler says. Texas won its suit, but even
unsuccessful suits can “gum up the system” and slow implementation.
States are also free to symbolically
oppose federal policies, as California lawmakers did November 9. The
leaders of both congressional houses
issued a joint statement that read in
part: “While Donald Trump may have
won the presidency, he hasn’t changed
our values. … We will not be dragged
back into the past. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred
our social fabric or our Constitution.”
As they watched the electoral votes
stack up for Trump, Californians—
who voted nearly 62 percent for Hillary Clinton and overwhelmingly supported progressive ballot measures like
legalizing marijuana and taxing the
rich—felt “like strangers in a foreign
land,” as the statement put it. Across the
state, in coffee shops and on Instagram,
people began to talk about secession.
The state has the sixth-largest economy in the world, a point that state lawmakers and officials, including Gov. Jerry Brown, have repeatedly brought up.
IN THESE TIMES

Hueso notes that California pays more
federal taxes than it gets back in federal programs, essentially “subsidizing
all these smaller Midwestern states”—
many of them red.
For a state to exit the union (without a civil war), three-quarters of states
must approve, which Adam Winkler
finds unlikely. Still, “CalExit is a fun
thing to talk about,” he says, “and it’s
part of symbolic opposition.”
If the nation’s values aren’t aligned
with California’s, then the progressive
powerhouse state will figure out how to
go its own way and, as Brown said in
a recent speech, “launch its own damn
satellites” to monitor climate change,
for example. Relative to poorer states,
which may struggle to continue such
programs as Medicaid were the federal
government to withdraw funding, California can afford to step up.
But it’s one thing for a state to cover
Medicare or sue the federal government, and another for it to, say, actively
stop immigration agents from rounding
up someone’s father. Immigrant-rights
groups are preparing for such contingencies. California’s Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy
(CAUSE) is gathering immigrants’ contact information for a rapid response
plan. “For example, we could send
someone a text at work that says, ‘ICE
is in the Westside of Ventura,’ ” explains
policy and communications director
Lucas Zucker. CAUSE and other groups
nationwide are lining up sanctuaries
and shelters—churches, community organizations and even workplaces.
In the nation’s most immigrant-rich
state, what it comes down to, Hueso
says, is that people are afraid. Every
day he hears from parents terrified that
they’ll be deported and their children,
many of whom are citizens, forced into
foster care. It reminds Hueso of his father, and of why he is doing this work.
“[My father] suffered very much,”
says Hueso, “and I do not wish that on
anybody. … We are better than that as
a people. We are better than that as a
country.”  n
FE BRUARY 2017

THE RESISTANCE’S
FIRST STAND
With Trump’s inauguration approaching and both legislative
branches controlled by the GOP,
congressional Democrats, joined
by progressive advocacy groups,
are laying plans to be a very vocal
minority. Senate Democrats are
gearing up to drag out cabinet-level
confirmation hearings, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is helping spearhead an effort across both houses
of Congress to oppose healthcare
cuts.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck
Schumer (D-N.Y.) intends to target
eight Trump nominees during confirmation hearings. These include
prospective Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson, prospective Attorney General Jeff Sessions and prospective
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Targeted nominees represent farright policies such as privatized education and healthcare. Schumer has
also raised concerns over potential
financial conflicts of interest. You
can call your senators to encourage
them to oppose these nominations,
and visit 350.org to sign a petition
and find out more about opposing
Tillerson.
Another early congressional
battle with the new administration
will be over the budget. On January
15, Sanders and other progressives
are organizing rallies across the
country, marking the start of a campaign against likely cuts to Medicaid
and Medicare. Sign a petition and
learn more about this campaign at
BernieSanders.com.
— H U B E R T A D J E I - KO N T O H

9


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