Many people argue that sanctuary cities and state policies that prevent local law enforcement officials from notifying federal authorities about potentially violent criminal aliens make Americans less safe. Others have argued that the liberal defiance of federal law is just like democrat leaders who fought against the Civil rights movement and desegregation laws.
Attorney General William Barr feels the same.
On Monday, Barr announced a “significant escalation” against democrat controlled areas that protect criminal aliens and obstruct the “lawful functioning of our nation’s immigration system.” He also explained that lawsuits have been filed against New Jersey, California, and Washington state, as well as specific officials in those sanctuary lands.
Speaking at the National Sheriff’s Association 2020 Winter Legislative and Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., Barr said the Justice Department would immediately file multiple lawsuits against sanctuary jurisdictions for unconstitutionally interfering with federal immigration enforcement, and implement unprecedented national reviews of left-wing sanctuary governments and prosecutors.
“Let us state the reality upfront and as clearly as possible,” Barr began. “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.”
The DOJ has now filed a federal complaint against the State of New Jersey seeking declaratory and injunctive relief “against its laws that forbid state and local law enforcement from sharing vital information about criminal aliens with DHS,” Barr said.
That was a reference to New Jersey Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2018-6, which the DOJ says illegally bars officials from sharing the immigration status and release dates of individuals in custody. It also requires New Jersey law enforcement to “promptly notify a detained individual, in writing and in a language the individual can understand” if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) files an immigration detainer request for the individual.
Additionally, “we are filing a complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against King County, Washington, for the policy … that forbids DHS from deporting aliens from the United States using King County International Airport,” Barr said.
That lawsuit targets King County Executive Order PFC-7-1-EO, which the DOJ said has dramatically increased operating costs for ICE as detainees have had to be transported to Yakima, Washington. The executive order unconstitutionally conflicts with the federal Airline Deregulation Act, which “prohibits localities such as King County from enacting or enforcing laws or regulations that relate to prices, routes, or services of air carriers,” the DOJ said.
“Further, we are reviewing the practices, policies, and laws of other jurisdictions across the country. This includes assessing whether jurisdictions are complying with our criminal laws, in particular the criminal statute that prohibits the harboring or shielding of aliens in the United States,” Barr added, noting that the DOJ would support DHS with “federal subpoenas to access information about criminal aliens in the custody of uncooperative jurisdictions.”
And, Barr said, “we are meticulously reviewing the actions of certain district attorneys who have adopted policies of charging foreign nationals with lesser offenses for the express purpose of avoiding the federal immigration consequences of those nationals’ criminal conduct. In pursuing their personal ambitions and misguided notions of equal justice, these district attorneys are systematically violating the rule of law and may even be unlawfully discriminating against American citizens.”