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California Lawmakers Respond to Trump’s Threat to Cut Funding

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SACRAMENTO -- Many California lawmakers are not threatened by the president's threats to defund the state over sanctuary cities. Some are moving forward with a bill to make all of California a "sanctuary state."

"I don't want to defund anybody, I want to give them the money they need to operate, if they're going to have sanctuary cities, we may have to do that, certainly that would be a weapon," President Donald Trump told FOX News' Bill O'Rilley in a pre-Super Bowl interview Sunday.

Trump's message is being heard loud and clear inside the California state Capitol building.

"I take him at his word... But I'll tell you this, our values are not for sale in California and doing the right thing is not always free," said Assemblyman Rob Bonta, who represents parts of the East Bay.

Bonta introduced Assembly Bill 3, which would create state-funded centers to train public defenders on immigration law. He's also part of a larger effort to make California a sanctuary state.

"The approach of sanctuary state has a simple proposition, it says ICE, you should do your job. Local law enforcement should not do your job for you," Bonta told FOX40.

But some Californians are outraged federal funds could be cut to help undocumented immigrants.

"They should be focused on helping American citizens, we have homelessness on the rise, unemployed, our veterans are suffering," said Robin Hvidston, executive director of the immigration enforcement advocacy group We The People Rising.

She's worried about who will come if California becomes a sanctuary state.

"They are putting out a welcome mat to the world to come to California illegally, and they will work and protect them," she said.

But Bonta believes sanctuary status will actually make crime drop.

"We want victims and witnesses to know with confidence that they can come forward and report crimes and when that happens without fear of retaliation or fear of potentially being deported," Bonta told FOX40.

Most the laws passed this year won't take effect until January 2018.

However, the sanctuary state bills could take effect earlier, even as soon as they're signed by the governor, if they get two-thirds of the vote.

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