California’s new U.S. senator is positioning herself to be a leader in the fight against Donald Trump on immigration.
Kamala Harris’ first public appearance as senator-elect this week was at the headquarters of an immigrants’ rights group in Los Angeles. Harris has followed the appearance up with a post on the website Medium saying she wanted “every immigrant family in this country – as well as the new Trump administration – to know exactly where I stood on immigration reform.”
“One side believes it is okay to demagogue immigrants, has proposed unrealistic plans to build a wall, and is promising to break up families by deporting millions of people,” Harris wrote. “The other side believes in respect, justice, dignity, and equality as part of an approach to bring millions of people out of the shadows.”
Harris, who is California’s attorney general, is the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India.
She was elected Tuesday to replace the retiring Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate, making her the first Indian-American in the Senate as well as the nation’s second black female senator, the first in 17 years.
Harris has an online petition to support immigrants and suggested California would lead the resistance to Trump.
“Just as we always have, I believe our state has an outsized role to play in the direction our country heads on this issue. Like most Americans, we celebrate diversity and inclusivity – and we are proud to be the home of more immigrants – both documented and undocumented – than any state in the union,” Harris wrote.
California has an estimated 2.6 million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. Trump has pledged an increase in deportations and construction of a border wall with Mexico, as well as a cutoff of federal funding to “sanctuary cities” such as San Francisco and Los Angeles that limit local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities.