US Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed an event hosted by the California Peace Officers' Association where he delivered a message to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for her sanctuary city policy. Schaaf has been under scrutiny for warning illegal immigrants about ICE raids before they happen.
"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," Sessions said.
SESSIONS: We are a strong, prosperous, and orderly nation. And such a nation must have a lawful system of immigration. I am not aware of any advanced nation that does not understand this fundamental tenet.
And let no one contend that we reject immigration and want to “wall off America” from all lawful immigration. President Trump and the American people know what’s happening. We admit 1.1 million immigrants lawfully to permanent legal status—green card status—every year, the highest numbers in the world.
Indeed, at this unprecedented rate we will soon have the largest percentage of non-native born in our nation’s history with the percentage continuing to rise every year thereafter.
Thus, the good and decent people of this country are right to insist that this country should end the illegality, create a rational immigration flow, and protect the nation from criminal aliens.
It cannot be that someone who illegally crosses the border and two days later arrives in Sacramento, Dubuque, Louisville, and Central Islip is home free—never to be removed.
It cannot be the policy of a great nation to up and reward those who unlawfully enter its country with legal status, Social Security, welfare, food stamps, and work permits. Meanwhile those who engage in this process lawfully and patiently and wait their turn are discriminated against at every turn.
Most Americans get this. They are working hard to make ends meet, follow the rules, and try to keep their loved ones safe.
They, our citizens, want our government to think about them for a change to consider their interests. They have dreams too. Frankly, this commonsense concept was a key factor in President Trump’s election. Elections have consequences.
Immigration law is the province of the federal government. This Administration and this Justice Department are determined to make it work effectively for the people.
I understand that we have a wide variety of political opinions out there on immigration. But the law is in the books and its purpose is clear.
There is no nullification. There is no secession. Federal law is “the supreme law of the land.” I would invite any doubters to Gettysburg, and to the graves of John C. Calhoun and Abraham Lincoln.
A refusal to apprehend and deport those, especially the criminal element, effectively rejects all immigration law and creates an open borders system. Open borders is a radical, irrational idea that cannot be accepted.
The United States of America is not “an idea;” it is a secular nation-state with a Constitution, laws, and borders, all of which are designed to protect our nation’s interests. Surely, we should be able to agree on this much.
To carry out the intent of our laws, we need law officers. We need our Immigration and Customs Officers and our Customs and Border Protection officers. They are your brothers and sisters. President Trump, the Congress, and the American people want them to accomplish the goals our laws set out for them. That’s why we pay them.
But, California, we have a problem. A series of actions and events has occurred that directly and adversely impact the work of our federal officers.
For example, the mayor of Oakland has been actively seeking to help illegal aliens avoid apprehension by ICE. Her actions support those who flout our laws and boldly validate the illegality. There’s no other way to interpret her remarks.
To make matters worse, the elected Lieutenant Governor of this state praised her for doing so. Bragging about and encouraging the obstruction of our law enforcement and the law is an embarrassment to this proud and important state.
Tom Homan, Acting Director of ICE has said that “being a law enforcement officer is already dangerous enough, but to give the criminals a heads up that we're coming in the next 24 hours increases that risk. I watch [the mayor’s] statement when she said her priority is the safety of her community, but what she did has the exact opposite effect.”
According to Acting Director Homan, ICE failed to make 800 arrests that they would have made if the mayor had not acted as she did.
Those are 800 wanted aliens that are now at large in that community—most are wanted criminals that ICE will now have to pursue with more difficulty in more dangerous situations, all because of one mayor’s irresponsible action.
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.
But in California, we have an even bigger problem than just one mayor. The problems continue.
For example, in January, Ventura County declined a request from ICE to hold an alien Ventura had arrested for continuous sexual abuse of a child. Instead of being removed from this country, he was released back into the community and now our federal law enforcement will need to find him and arrest him wherever he may be.
In recent years, California has enacted a number of laws designed to intentionally obstruct the work of our sworn immigration enforcement officers—to intentionally use every power it has to undermine duly-established immigration law in America.
California won’t let employers voluntarily allow ICE agents on their property. And California requires employers to give notice to employees before ICE inspects their workplace.
When this law was before the California General Assembly, a Judiciary Committee report explicitly stated that its goal was to frustrate “an expected increase in federal immigration enforcement actions.”
ICE agents are federal law enforcement officers carrying out federal law. California cannot forbid them or obstruct them in doing their jobs.
Just imagine if a state passed a law forbidding employers from cooperating with OSHA in ensuring workplace safety. Or the EPA, looking for a polluter. That would obviously be absurd. But it would be no different in principle from this new law enacted by California.
And just think about the situation it puts California employers in. They want to help law enforcement. They want to do their civic duty. We ought to encourage that.
But your state attorney general has repeatedly said his office will prosecute these business owners. Let me quote: “ignorance of the law is no excuse if you violate it” and “you are subjecting yourself to up to $10,000 [in fines] for violations.”
California has also claimed the authority to inspect facilities where ICE holds people in custody. Already this year, California has specifically and in a discriminatory manner targeted six facilities and demanded documents and other material from the Department of Homeland Security.
California won’t let law enforcement officers like you transfer prisoners into ICE custody or even communicate with ICE that you’re about to release someone they’re looking for. Remember that California found these people dangerous enough to detain them in the first place, but then insists on releasing them back into the community instead of allowing federal officers to remove them.
And rather than allow ICE officers to do their jobs at the jailhouse, they force these officers to conduct far more dangerous arrests elsewhere—where violent criminals may reside and where children can be caught in the crossfire.
That’s not just unconstitutional, it’s a plain violation of federal statute and common sense.
Importantly, these laws are harmful to Californians, and they’re especially harmful to law enforcement.
That’s why the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit yesterday against the state of California to invalidate these unjust laws and to immediately freeze their effect. Federal agents must be able to do the job that Congress has directed them to do.
Contrary to what you might hear from the lawless open borders radicals, we are not asking California, Oakland, or anyone else to enforce immigration laws.
Although we would welcome the positive assistance the majority of jurisdictions in America provide, ICE agents do incredible work every day. They will not be deterred.
We are simply asking California and other sanctuary jurisdictions to stop actively obstructing federal law enforcement.
Stop treating immigration agents differently from everybody else for the purpose of eviscerating border controls and advancing an open borders philosophy shared by only the most radical extremists. Stop protecting lawbreakers and giving all officers more dangerous work to do so that a few politicians can score political points on the backs of officer safety.