After California, Will the Justice Department Target Other Sanctuary Jurisdictions?

There is no question that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had an obvious first target in his effort rein in lawless sanctuary jurisdictions and the politicians who defend them. The three laws enacted by California in 2017 moved it into sanctuary statehood status – in direct conflict with the Federal government role in setting immigration policy, according to the lawsuit filed by the Justice Department this week.

Gov. Jerry Brown reacted with predictable hyperbolic flair and outrage telling PBS’ Newshour the Trump administration was engaging in “gutter politics” and “sowing discord” among the American people.

“He’s going after men, women, and children, some who have worked 10 or 20 years picking our food, washing our dishes, building houses,” adding that “we don’t need a Gestapo-kind of tactic with vitriol spewing out of Jeff Sessions’ mouth.”

Similar overreach came from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who tipped off Bay Area residents to pending immigration raids and put the lives of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in harm’s way.

The Justice Department asserts in the lawsuit that California’s sanctuary policies have created an “atmosphere of defiance” which places the lives of federal agents at risk.

The Justice Department says the laws, “reflect a deliberate effort by California to obstruct the United States’ enforcement of federal immigration law.”

Schaaf issued a statement in response to Sessions’ Tuesday rebuke of her actions, saying “we will continue to inform all residents about their Constitutional rights, and we will continue to support California’s sanctuary status.”

With the fire and fury dying down (a little), the lingering question is whether the attorney general challenges other sanctuary jurisdictions and/or politicians like Schaaf that go beyond withholding cooperation to actively interfering with the enforcement of U.S. immigration law.

If Sessions goes on the road, there are plenty of options ahead. In addition to California, the states of Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont, as well as more than 300 municipalities across the nation, have enacted some manner of sanctuary law.

He could narrow the list down to the 23 jurisdictions that were sent letters in January ordering them to demonstrate they were not implementing sanctuary policies. A failure to show they were not in compliance with federal laws requiring local cooperation on immigration matters would, Sessions warned, result in the issuance of subpoenas.

Just north of the Golden State, Oregon politicians were also playing victim and vowing to fight.

“Oregon will not be bullied by a Trump Administration that is focused on dividing our country. I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that the rights and values of all Oregonians are protected,” said Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.

For more than 30 years, Oregon has been a sanctuary state, so it was no surprise when the state legislature recently passed two bills permitting DACA beneficiaries to continue to have access to in-state tuition and to renew their driver’s licenses.

Allowing illegal immigrants to hold driver’s licenses is a bold rejection of the will of the people who voted in 2014 to defeat a ballot initiative that would have given four-year driver’s licenses to illegals.

But the Trump administration and Justice Department do have some allies in the sanctuaries, such as the group of Colorado state lawmakers who visited the White House for talks with administration officials about potential consequences for politicians who enact sanctuary policies.

The group included state Rep. Dave Williams, the sponsor of HB 1134, the “Colorado Politician Immunity Act.” The measure would provide a “civil remedy against the state or a political subdivision of the state (jurisdiction) and against its elected officials for creating sanctuary policies.”

In addition, it would allow victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens who had established residency in a sanctuary jurisdiction to file a civil action against either the locality and/or against the elected officials who were responsible for creating a sanctuary jurisdictions, such as those in Aurora and Denver.

FAIR’s David Jaroslav details the revival of efforts to make Maryland a sanctuary state.

About Author


Jennifer joined FAIR as Web Content Writer in 2017 and brings to the role extensive communications and media background. She began her career as a policy research analyst on multiple national and state political campaigns before entering journalism. In addition to spending over a decade writing for several broadcast and print news outlets, Jennifer directed communications strategy for a member of Congress and a military nonprofit.


  1. avatar

    The simple reality is: NO State has the right to pass any laws that permit any actions contrary to Federal law. Federal laws ALWAYS supercede State laws.
    Any court that rules otherwise should be considered an ‘activist’ court and the judge should be disrobed.
    “The Supremacy Clause is a clause within Article VI of the U.S. Constitution which dictates that federal law is the “supreme law of the land.” This means that judges in every state must follow the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the federal government in matters which are directly or indirectly within the government’s control. Under the doctrine of preemption, which is based on the Supremacy Clause, federal law preempts state law, even when the laws conflict. Thus, a federal court may require a state to stop certain behavior it believes interferes with, or is in conflict with, federal law.” (Sourced from FindLaw)
    So, send in the full force of the US Marshall’s office and take into custody ALL of those officials, elected or otherwise, who have actively passed or enforced sanctuary ‘laws’. As for the 9th Circuit, if ANY judge on it says the action is “unconstitutional”, remove them from the bench for disregarding settled Constitutional law.

  2. avatar

    It’s obvious by Brown’s comments that he doesn’t mind that otherwise skilled labor that would require a wage suitable for the skill involved would be employed in any of the tasks he has decided illegal immigrants can perform. His rhetoric forces these folks, in the country illegally and guilty of felony level offenses, to work “in the shadows” for slave level wages.

    • avatar
      William Webb on

      Just follow the money. Who is making big money off of employing these low wage “slaves” – the business owners and their stockholders. These sanctuary policies stink just like Crooked Hillary. She’s there is the background somewhere getting her revenge on Trump.

  3. avatar

    San Francisco is directly responsible for the death of Kate Steinle because her killer had been held in another jurisdiction and the city requested he be transferred to SF to face previous drug charges that were still in effect there. After he was transferred to their custody they dropped those charges and turned him loose on the streets, in spite of the fact that he had previous convictions and had been deported five times.

    How can anyone argue with the conclusion that California authorities are turning loose convicted foreign nationals who then prey repeatedly on legal citizens. There’s no other way to look at it. Foreign criminals get preference over your right to be protected from them. They are holding people in their jails, knowing the crimes they have committed, beyond illegal entry, and let them go.

    The mayor of Oakland warns all illegals, including hardened criminals avoiding arrest, and they then evade ICE, making ICE’s job that much harder to do because they have to go out on the streets trying to find these people. And a lot of these criminals flee to other states. The Democratic governor of Oregon is claiming Trump is “dividing our country”. No, what is dividing the country is two sets of rules. We have to obey the law and foreign nationals in sanctuary jurisdictions are free to break laws at will

    • avatar
      William Webb on

      These illegal alien criminals don’t have any Constitutional rights. Due process is for American citizens, Round them up and ship them back. State and other government officials that enforce these unconstitutional sanctuary policies should be tried, convicted, and jailed!

  4. avatar
    William Moore on

    Time to clean house here in California ad please start here in San Franciscio.. The liberals have destroyed the once great, clean, affordable and liveable state of California wirh all their *** kissing of the ‘boat people’ and illegals. IIlive in San Francisco and this problem seems to be getting intolerable. Here we have to deal with all the illegal chinese ‘***********’ who’ve turned many neighborhoods here into third world toilets complete with filth, squalor and smells. Not all Californians agree with the politicians , jerry ‘the clown’ brown, dianne feinstein, ‘nasty’ nancy pelosi,, brown’s flunkee and governor wannabee gavin newsome and most recently oakland mayor libby schaff. These ‘clowns’ thumb their noses’ at the law and continue this outrageous and illegal behavior! These no good thieves are running this state into the ground with their ‘socialist’ agenda Hopefully the. ICE sweeps in oakland will follow up wirh sweeps in San Francisco’s chinatown and richmond disctrict will get rid of these disgusting ***********! This escalating problem will finally start getting solved and with the mid term election in June we’ll start the ‘dumbocrap’ purge and follow with the general election in November to finally get rid of these thieving liars who’ve turned this state into a third world CRAPHOLE!

    • avatar
      William Webb on

      I haven’t been back to California in 20 years. I doubt if I will ever go back considering how the residents are describing how Moonbeam, Pelosi, Feinstein, Shaaf, and especially Crooked Hillary are turning it into a ****hole illegal alien hiding place. Go Trump 2020!

  5. Pingback: After California, Will the Justice Department Target Other Sanctuary Jurisd... - SocialSmog.Com

  6. avatar

    This “lawsuit” is a joke; some piss-ant district court judge will throw it out, or the Ninth Circus will. The DOJ and DHS need to go into the Land of Fruits and Nuts HARD! There is PLENTY of ‘low-hanging fruit’ to be had; illegals can be arrested by the hundreds or thousands every single week. Let Gov. Moonbeam, the Oakland mayor, or some other official attempt to interfere with a lawful arrest, then bust ’em for obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting. Only a CRIMINAL prosecution is going to clear the air here. A civil suit is meaningless and a total waste of time. It’s just more political theatre. Time for ACTION from AG Sessions, not BS.

Leave A Reply