California Gov. Jerry Brown (D)

Gov. to Trump: 'You Don't Want to Mess with California'

California’s Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown responded to President Donald Trump’s criticism of his state in an interview on Sunday.


Brown was commenting on the president’s threat to use federal funding as “a weapon” by withholding the funds if the state votes to be a sanctuary state calling California “out of control.”

“We do have something called the Ninth and the Tenth Amendment,” Brown said in response on “Meet the Press.”

The Ninth Amendment protects Americans from being limited strictly to the rights outlined in the Bill of Rights. The Tenth Amendment states that any powers not given to the federal government or specifically banned from being in the states’ control are therefore left to the states.

“The federal government just can’t arbitrarily for political reasons punish the State of California, that’s number one,” Brown said. “Number two, California is America. We’re 12 percent. We’re a key part the export capital going into the Pacific. We’re the innovation capital, high tech, agriculture, 40, 50 billion-dollar industry. You don’t want to mess with California, because you’re going to mess with the economy, and that could blow up in your face in a gigantic recession and roll the Republicans right out of this town.”

California became the world’s sixth largest economy in 2016. Data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) puts California’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) just behind the United States, China, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom. It edges out France, India, Italy and Brazil.

Brown said that despite Trump’s views being very different from his own and from the interests of the state of California, “I’m willing to work with the president.”

“With Mr. Trump look, I’m following a very fine line here,” Brown said. “I want to work with him where there’s something good, but I’m not going to just turn over our police department to become agents of the federal government as they deport women and children, and people who are contributing to the economic well-being of our state, which they are.”

Immigration will in fact play a significant role in the growth of the United States workforce, a Pew Research Center report found. According to the study released earlier this month, working-age adults whose parents were both born in the U.S. make up the largest share of this demographic. However, this number is expected to decrease from 128.3 million in 2015 to 120.1 million in 2035.

In contrast, the number of working-age adults born in the U.S. to immigrant parents will more than double during this time period from 11.1 million to 24.6 million. And the arrival of new immigrants will be what the authors call “perhaps the most important component of the growth in the working-age population over the next two decades.”

When Brown was asked how he would respond to criticism “that because you don’t deport people here for small crimes that are here illegally, it encourages them to come,” the governor said his state does not intend to protect criminals.

“I signed a bill that listed over 50 separate criminal offenses that encourage the local police and sheriffs to cooperate with immigration services. So we’re not here to protect criminals, but we do recognize that America is the land of opportunity,” Brown explained. “All of our parents came here at one time, our grandparents and great grandparents they came here, and that’s what builds the state. Some of these swing states, where they went Republican, they don’t have enough immigrants. That’s why they couldn’t build their economy. We’re building it.”

“Maybe I can convince the president that he has to take a more enlightened view,” he added.

When asked if he believes immigration is negative for the state Brown said he would not call immigration a problem “at all” but would rather call it “a great asset.”

“Twenty-five percent of the people in California were foreign-born. This is our dynamism,” he said.

In February the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the labor force participation rate was 62.7 percent. The rate has not been over 66 percent sinceJune 2009. Immigrants will play a crucial role in filling jobs to account for the labor shortage, which the BLS predicts will continue:

“The labor force continues to age. The median age of the labor force was 37.7 in1994, 40.3 in 2004, 41.9 in 2014, and is projected to be 42.4 in 2024. At the same time, the overall labor force participation rate is projected to decrease from 62.9 percent in 2014 to 60.9 percent in 2024.”

Brown remains firmly opposed to Trump’s proposed border wall but said the state will be careful in how it fights this battle.

“We’re not going to sit around and just play patsy and say, ‘Hey, go ahead. Lock us in. Do whatever the hell you want. Deport 2 billion, 2 million people,'” Brown said. “No. We’re going to fight, and we’re going to fight very hard. But we’re not going to bring stupid lawsuits or be running to the courthouse every day. We’re going to be careful.”

On a different topic, Brown also slammed lawmakers who supported the Republican’s failed health bill.

“This bill is not health care reform, or repeal and replace it’s death, disease and suffering,” he said, adding that for anyone who supported the bill, “In most districts in America, their name is going to be mud. No question about it.”

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