Is it wrong that we would really like to see ICE agents show up at Lizbeth Mateo’s office, put her in handcuffs, and throw her in the back of a deportation wagon?
Perhaps that would be a little too incendiary even for the Trump administration, but it would nonetheless give us no small amount of (guilty?) pleasure. Because California knew exactly what they were doing when they appointed Mateo this week to the California Student Opportunity and Access Program Project Grant Advisory Committee. And while we would encourage Mateo to make her first order of business shortening the name of the committee, her real purpose was blared in the headlines upon the announcement: She will become the first “undocumented resident” appointed to a statewide post in California…or any other state.
To make matters worse (or better, if you’re a member of the California Senate Rules Committee), Mateo is a 33-year-old attorney who has dedicated her practice to immigrant rights. And while she is not protected by the DACA program, she has been a strong advocate for the program and for the legalization of Dreamers and other categories of illegal immigrant.
In a statement announcing Mateo’s appointment, Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon – himself the son of illegal immigrants – could not bypass the opportunity to thumb his nose at Washington.
“While Donald Trump fixates on walls, California will continue to concentrate on opportunities,” he said. “Ms. Mateo is a courageous, determined, and intelligent young woman who at great personal risk has dedicated herself to fight for those seeking their rightful place in this country.”
Mateo released her own statement, saying, “While undocumented students have become more visible in our state, they remain underrepresented in places where decision that affect them are being made.”
Yes, that’s the de facto nature of being a resident of a country in which you do not belong…
The move comes as the Trump administration prepares to take California into federal court over a challenge to the state’s so-called sanctuary laws. Those laws, which not only prevent local authorities from honoring ICE detainer requests but contain provisions punishing employers who cooperate with federal immigration officials in any way, have been deemed illegal by the Justice Department, President Trump, and many objective observers.
California is going to keep pushing this issue until even the most liberal courts have no choice but to slap them back into reality. And when that happens (along with the accompanying federal crackdown), illegal immigrants will have no one to blame but the Democrats in office who thought it was more important to wage a political war against Donald Trump than to simply enforce the law.