SAN DIEGO -- Local leaders and residents of all sides of the political spectrum were reacting Wednesday to President Donald Trump's executive actions calling for construction of a wall along the Mexican border and funding for so-called "sanctuary'' cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Congressman Darrell Issa signaled his support Wednesday for the executive orders.
“We will have an opportunity to really let our border enforcement work the way it was supposed to and those people who want to do those jobs to be able to do them efficiently,” he said.
Many Trump supporters are also applauding the executive actions.
Brenda Sparks, whose son was killed while riding his motorcycle by an immigrant who was illegally in the United States, says Trump’s stance on immigration was the main reason she supported the president’s candidacy from the very beginning.
“With these orders going into effect, a lot more people are going to be saved,” said Sparks, who Trump invited to attend his inauguration. “I’ve been permanently separated from my son. Pro-illegals will sit there and say, these families are going to be separated due to no fault of their own, but these people can go visit their family member who has been deported. I cannot.”
On the other hand, immigration activists are gearing up for a fight.
“People are scared, they’re frightened, they have a lot of anxiety, especially because they don’t know what will happen next,” said Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee of San Diego.
“These changes are changes that we expected but not until today do people really begin to understand the real impact that they will have on their families," he said. "We never thought that the extreme right would be developing policies for the entire country.”
Several elected officials in San Diego and throughout the state wasted no time lashing out at the executive actions.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, has boosted San Diego and Tijuana as a binational region and consistently opposed Trump on the issue.
"SD already has a border built by the Feds. Crossborder trade creates jobs. Our binational economic & cultural ties have my full support," San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer tweeted.
Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, whose district covers border areas, said the president is putting his anti-immigrant rhetoric into action.
"These executive orders do not bring us any closer to achieving comprehensive immigration reform and they do not make America safer,'' Vargas said.
"Instead, the president is proposing solutions that target, criminalize and demonize innocent communities,'' Vargas said. "Building a wall and stripping funds from sanctuary cities are not effective immigration policies, they are divisive policies.''
Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, called the executive orders "irrational, mean-spirited and misguided."
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, a Democrat who represents southern San Diego County, said Trump's actions run contrary to basic American values of compassion and inclusion.
"He will jeopardize the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children who are in harm's way,'' Gonzalez Fletcher said.
"Forcing police to freelance as border agents doesn't make our communities safer, nor neither does wasting billions of American tax dollars to further divide our binational community with a border wall," she said. "This is embarrassingly un-American."