President Donald Trump is set to meet with a group of local elected officials from California at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the backlash against the state's so-called sanctuary laws, which aim to protect undocumented immigrants.
Several counties in the state — including San Diego, Orange and Tuolumne — as well as more than two dozen cities oppose the controversial law, two of which went into effect in January. Some of the same local jurisdictions in California also have filed briefs in support of the Trump administration's lawsuit against the state.
"We really appreciative of the mutual interest on this important issue," said Troy Edgar, mayor of Los Alamitos, a city in Orange County and one of the first local jurisdictions in the state to introduce a measure to opt out of the California's sanctuary law.
Edgar confirmed he was invited to the White House along with a group other local elected officials and said it was an "incredible opportunity" and one that he believed would continue to pushback against the state's sanctuary law. He said at least 35 local jurisdictions already have come on board the anti-sanctuary law movement.
About a dozen local elected officials were invited to the White House on Wednesday, including Warren Kusumoto, mayor pro tem of Los Alamitos, along with Orange County County Supervisor Michelle Steel. Kusumoto declined comment.
"I am very honored to be invited by President Trump to join him and other leaders from around California at the White House to discuss these 'sanctuary' laws," Steel said in a statement. "This is an amazing opportunity and I look forward to our discussion on this important public safety issue."
Several local officials from San Diego County also were invited, including Escondido Mayor Sam Abed.
In a Facebook post Friday, Abed said he was "honored to be invited to the White House to meet President Trump" as well as the U.S. attorney general and secretary of the Department of Homeland Security "to discuss Sanctuary State & Immigration. Proud to share Escondido's successful policies to keep our community safe under the Rule of Law."
During Monday's White House press briefing, deputy press secretary Raj Shah was asked about the planned meeting with California local officials.
"Well, I can't obviously get ahead of the meeting. But look, the Department of Justice is engaged in certain litigation regarding sanctuary cities in California," he said.
Shah added: "We believe that California should help us, and all municipalities and states should help the federal government in enforcing federal law, in helping to deport — when appropriate — criminal, illegal immigrants, and help, I guess, stem the tide of illegal immigration in the United States. It's actually on the rise now. It's a point of frustration for the president and for the administration. So that will be part of, obviously, what's discussed."