In his last year as California’s governor, Jerry Brown—like his fellow Democrats—has embraced illegal aliens as part of the “resistance” to President Trump. Mr. Brown said Wednesday that the Justice Department was “basically going to war against the state of California.” The department has sued the state over three statutes designed to frustrate the enforcement of immigration laws, including one prohibiting private employers from cooperating with immigration authorities.
But in his first year as governor, Mr. Brown—like his fellow Democrats—strenuously opposed immigrants who received federal approval to come to the U.S. as refugees from their besieged homelands.
When South Vietnam and Cambodia fell to communists in April 1975, Gov. Brown, who had just succeeded Ronald Reagan, fought the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees. In the process, Mr. Brown and other Democrats engaged in xenophobic rhetoric.
“There is something a little strange about saying, ‘Let’s bring in 500,000 more people,’ when we can’t take care of the one million out of work,” Mr. Brown said.
His point man on the issue, Mario Obledo, reflected the state’s ethnic politics. Obledo had helped found the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund and was called the “Godfather of the Latino Movement” before joining Mr. Brown’s administration as secretary of health and welfare. Obledo created Project VIC, the Vietnamese Interagency Commission, to explore the possibility of suing the federal government to stop the exodus.
On April 23, Obledo called the State Department to ask for a meeting with Secretary Henry Kissinger within 48 hours. After following that call with a telegram, Obledo told reporters he would be ready to go to Guam, a transit point, “to insure that no refugees are brought into the state until some definitive relocation plans are announced by the federal government.”