How will Trump administration immigration lawsuit impact Kern County?

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The Migration Policy Institute estimates there are 75,000 undocumented immigrants living in Kern County.

Which means the outcome of this lawsuit will hit home.

Eloisa Torres listened Wednesday as Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump Administration’s lawsuit challenging California’s so called sanctuary state laws.

“California absolutely appears to me is using every power it has–powers it doesn’t have–to frustrate federal law enforcement, so you can be sure I’m going to use every power I have to stop them,” said AG Sessions.

“That’s very harsh, because I feel like they’re basically characterizing everybody the same, not everybody’s the same. Just because you have criminals that are Mexicans, doesn’t mean we’re all the same,” said Eloise Torres, who was brought to the United States illegally from Mexico when she was just 18-months-old.

Now at 18-years-old, she is undocumented and a student at Cal State Bakersfield. 

“Many of us are here with the idea to be prosperous and be successful one day,” said Torres.

CSUB Professor Mark Martinez says if California’s ‘sanctuary state’ laws are removed and Immigration and Customs Enforcement ramps up detentions, Kern’s ag economy could be impacted.

“If they think that local law enforcement and maybe even local growers may be cooperating with Immigration [and] Custom[s] Enforcement, ICE, then you’re gonna have people who are just gonna stop showing up, they’re not going to go to their job,” said Professor Martinez. 

Kern County Farm Bureau Executive Director Beatris Sanders reminds, “We are a $7.2 billion industry that depends very much on manual labor to produce and harvest food for the U.S.”

“And it’s not just agriculture, hotels. Think about school districts, the number of families that are now saying, ‘Can I take my kids to school, can I pick them up?'” said Martinez.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood and Bakersfield Police Chief Lyle Martin were both in Sacramento Wednesday, but while neither would comment on Sessions’ remarks, Sheriff Youngblood will be on with us on 17 News at Sunrise Thursday morning. 

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