- The Washington Times - Friday, February 10, 2017

California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra has a message for the Trump administration: “We have a right to say to the federal government: Hands off,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

The same day, the paper had a story titled: “California submits a $100 billion wish list of infrastructure projects to Trump for federal funding.”

I’m sorry, but California, you can’t have it both ways. If you want federal government dollars, you’re going to need to follow federal law.

California has been in the Trump administration’s cross-hairs, battling him over immigration policies, with many of its largest cities vowing to fight his sanctuary city executive order. Last month, San Francisco became the first city in the nation to file a lawsuit against the order and the state itself has threatened to become a sanctuary state.

“We’re trying to keep the federal government away from depriving people of their rights,” Mr. Becerra explained, even those of noncitizens. “We will stand up and defend the people of the state of California from any intrusion that is unconstitutional by the federal government.

So if the federal government would like to tell us how to perform our public safety requirements, we’ll tell them, thanks but that’s up to us. If they want to tell us how we should go about providing for the general welfare for the people of California, we’ll tell them, thanks for the advice but that’s up to us,” Mr. Becerra said in the interview published Wednesday.

Yet, Mr. Trump isn’t backing down.

In an interview with Fox News this week, he said he’s prepared to cut off California’s federal funding if it votes to become a sanctuary state.

“If we have to, we’ll defund,” Mr. Trump said. “We give tremendous amounts of money to California.”

He added: “I don’t want to defund anybody. I want to give them the money they need to properly operate as a city or a state. If they’re going to have sanctuary cities, we may have to do that. Certainly that would be a weapon.”

Although personal-finance Wallet Hub ranks California as one of the least dependent states in the nation on federal funding (ranked 46th last year) the University of California receives at least $9 billion in an assortment of federal taxpayer dollars, as well as infrastructure projects.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the state is facing a $136 billion backlog of necessary highway and local road repairs. In its letter to the Trump administration, California proposed 51 projects it would like federal help to pay for, which includes its fanciful high-speed rail to practical bridge repairs.

“State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly told reporters he plans to meet soon with new federal Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to discuss the wish list,” the Times reported.

Asked about potential tension between the state and Mr. Trump, Mr. Kelly shrugged it off, telling the Times the state has had a “very functional and good relationship with federal officials” and that “We expect that to continue and we are going to work hard towards making that continue.”

Perhaps, enforcing federal law is a good place to start.

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