President Donald Trump’s draconian family separation immigration policy has prompted some South Bay leaders to cut ties with the Republican Party.
San Jose Council members Dev Davis and Johnny Khamis as well as former Assemblyman Jim Cunneen announced their departure on Monday, saying they plan to re-register under “no party preference.”
Davis and Khamis cited the president’s separation policy as one that went way beyond the bounds of Republican values. Khamis, who fled Lebanon as a child when the country was in war, called it “the last straw” in a string of controversial actions by Trump.
“I am not leaving the party, the Republican party has left me,” he told reporters.
Davis, too, said that after Trump began removing kids from their families, she “could no longer wait for national Republican leaders to speak up.”
“The Republican Party I joined recognized the importance of families,” Davis said. “I still hold those values, but the Republican Party no longer does.”
“This is Trumpism,” added Cunneen who went on to say that his disapproval also extended to the Trump tax cuts, trade tariffs and foreign policy missteps.
The decision by Khamis and Davis to renounce their party affiliation brings the number of Republicans on the San Jose council from three—the most since the city began doing district elections in 1980—to just one, Councilman Lan Diep.
The council members’ outrage reflected the reaction of numerous other local leaders.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents 360 companies, wrote a letter to Trump on June 20 demanding an end to his new “zero tolerance” policy separating children from their families at the border. The missive came before the president signed an executive order later that day halting the widely criticized practice.
“Silicon Valley and much of America’s innovation economy has been built through the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of courageous immigrants and refugees,” Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino wrote in the rebuke.
The letter noted that the group will continue to lobby Congress for immigration reform—one that would take into account the future of Dreamers and the H1-B Visa program now under a crackdown by the Trump administration.
Meanwhile, a Facebook fundraiser to help reunite the separated families has raised over $18 million from about 488,000 contributors including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, making it the largest donation drive ever been organized on the social media platform.
Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO called the stories and images being circulated “gut-wrenching” and urged the government to address immigration in a “more humane way.”
The stories and images of families being separated at the border are gut-wrenching. Urging our government to work together to find a better, more humane way that is reflective of our values as a nation. #keepfamiliestogether
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) June 19, 2018
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Oakland) for California took to Twitter to ask U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign for allowing these separations to occur under her watch.
I’m calling on Kirstjen Nielsen to resign as Secretary of Homeland Security. Under her watch, our government has committed human rights abuses by breaking up families along the southern border. And she has failed to be accountable to and transparent with the American people.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 18, 2018
She called these actions “human rights abuse” in a tweet noting that thousands of children that have already been taken away from their families.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo agreed, calling the actions “criminal.”
This is criminal. https://t.co/Tf3L3aPXpr
— Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) June 16, 2018
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) lamented how far the United States has strayed from its role of representing “hope” and “opportunity” to immigrants worldwide.
How can the United Sates represent hope and opportunity to immigrants across the world while the Trump Administration continues to enforce their cruel “Zero-tolerence” policy? #KeepFamliesTogether
— Rep. Zoe Lofgren (@RepZoeLofgren) June 20, 2018