Sunday, June 23, 2024

In SOTU response, Xavier Becerra says he is prepared to challenge Trump once again

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra warned in a national televised address last night that he is prepared to take President Trump to court if he declares a national emergency to fund a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border while cutting federal funds to fire-damaged communities in this state.

Becerra delivered the remarks as part of the Democrats’ Spanish-language response to Trump’s State of the Union address. Speaking of his own upbringing as the son of Mexican immigrants, he denounced the president’s characterization of immigration, and the partial government shutdown over the construction of the wall.

“What we heard tonight was the same tired refrain of building walls,” Becerra said in a speech given at Sacramento’s C.K. McClatchy High School, the attorney general’s alma mater. “The idea of declaring a nonexistent state of emergency on the border, in order to justify robbing funds that belong to the victims of fires, floods, hurricanes, and droughts, to pay for the wall is not only immoral, it is illegal.

Becerra’s response, which was carried by Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo, will further burnish his credentials as a national figure in the Democratic Party’s resistance to Trump, said Bob Shrum, director of the Center for the Political Future at USC. “He is one of the leading Latinos in American politics. He’s a natural choice to do this,” Shrum said.

As attorney general, Becerra has gone to court 45 times with legal challenges to the Trump administration over federal actions on issues including immigration, healthcare, the environment, the U.S. census, education and the internet. The lawsuits include nine actions over immigration, including a case that has temporarily halted the termination of DACA.

In his speech, Becerra said his parents came to the U.S. from Guadalajara, Mexico, “to work hard and give their children a better life,” as many other families have done. “I know I am the product of those who fought to open the doors of opportunity,” he said. “The optimism — that characterizes the waves of immigrants who have come here — runs through my blood. And if the state of our nation can be characterized as ‘strong,’ it is because people like my parents — citizens or immigrants — built this country.”