For more than a year, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seemed content to tolerate California passing new laws intended to hobble federal immigration authorities and failing to cooperate with the federal government to enforce immigration law. However, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s reckless and possibly illegal decision to publicly tip illegal aliens to pending Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforcement actions apparently crossed the line.
“So here’s my message to Mayor Schaaf: How dare you. How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of law enforcement just to promote your radical open borders agenda,” declared Sessions today in a speech to the California Peace Officers’ Association.
The address came mere hours after the Justice Department filed suit against the Golden State arguing that its sanctuary laws violate the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which clearly states that federal law overrides state law when a conflict exists.
Sessions arrived in Sacramento with some wind at his back. On Monday, Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, denied California’s request to block the Trump administration from withholding law enforcement grants to jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with Federal immigration officers carrying out their responsibility to enforce U.S. immigration law.
In his 28-page opinion, Orrick rebuffed California writing that “the injury threatened is not irreparable” and the amount of any withheld funding “is small compared to the state’s budget.”
In February, California filed a nine-page complaint against the Justice Department for all records related to eligibility requirements for the $385 million Federal grant at issue.
The ruling was a setback for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has invested both energy and funding into obstructing the Trump administration’s enforcement efforts.
In his response, Becerra ignored the federal government’s exclusive jurisdiction over immigration enforcement, arguing that “the 10th Amendment of the Constitution gives the people of California, not the Trump Administration, the power to decide how we will provide for the public safety and general welfare in our state.”
He pledged to continue the state’s “fight against federal government overreach that undermines the safety and values of our state.”
By not mounting legal challenges to the rogue actions of local officials in so-called “sanctuary states,” the Justice Department has only encouraged others to follow Oakland mayor Schaaf’s lawless lead.
Organized Communities Against Deportations, a pro-amnesty group, specifically cited the actions of Schaaf when it announced the filing of two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking “details or communication about possible immigration operations planned” in Chicago. However, records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes is protected from disclosure pursuant to FOIA if such disclosure would interfere with law enforcement proceedings.
Pro-sanctuary advocates keep poking the bear but it’s unclear whether Attorney General Sessions is finally coming out of hibernation or just plans on stretching and growling a bit.