Attorney General Bill Barr on Monday announced a “significant escalation” in sanctions against jurisdictions and governments that protect illegal immigrations and refuse to cooperate with federal authorities.
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The Department of Justice is suing the state of New Jersey, based on a 2018 directive which requires police to give detained illegals a heads-up if ICE files a detainer request for them and prevents police from sharing information about inmates’ immigration status with ICE.
The DOJ is suing King County, Washington for a policy that prevents the DHS from using the county’s international airport to deport illegal immigrants and is suing the state of California over a new law that blocks the use of for-profit detention facilities – which are commonly used by federal agencies to house illegal immigrants.
Last week, the Department of Homeland Security blocked New York residents from enrolling in programs designed to expedite international travel in repose to the state’s adoption of a law that forbids DMVs from sharing driver’s license records with federal immigration officials.
“We will consider taking action against any jurisdiction that, or any politician who, unlawfully obstructs the federal enforcement of immigration law,” said Barr.
The DOJ will also be conducting an unprecedented review of district attorneys for actions that protect illegals, such as charging an individual with a smaller crime in order to avoid the federal repercussions of a larger crime.
In New York and California, prosecutors consider “collateral consequences,” including deportation, before pursuing certain charges. Such behavior is clearly illegal and discriminatory towards US citizens.
“Let us state the reality upfront and as clearly as possible,” said Barr. “When we are talking about sanctuary cities, we are talking about policies that are designed to allow criminal aliens to escape. These policies are not about people who came to our country illegally but have otherwise been peaceful and productive members of society. Their express purpose is to shelter aliens whom local law enforcement has already arrested for other crimes. This is neither lawful nor sensible.”
During his speech, Barr cited several instances in which illegal immigrants committed violent crimes after they were protected by sanctuary policies.
Last month in New York City, a 92-year-old woman was raped and killed by an illegal immigrant who had been released from custody despite ICE’s detainer request. The man was initially arrested for assaulting his father.
In Washington State, an illegal immigrant convicted with four prior removals was released from prison even after fighting with jail staff. He was arrested for murder and dismemberment in January 2018.
“Enforcing a country’s immigration laws is an essential function of the national government,” said Barr. “And no national government can enforce those laws properly if state and local governments are getting in the way. While federal law does not require that ‘sanctuary jurisdictions’ actively assist with federal immigration enforcement, it does prohibit them from interfering with our enforcement efforts.”
Unfortunately many of the Trump Administration’s efforts to punish sanctuary cities have been blocked by the courts. This latest effort is likely timed to attract voter support ahead of the November election.