During a speech at the National Sheriff’s Association 2020 Winter Legislative and Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department would be filing multiple lawsuits against state and local governments for interfering with federal immigration enforcement, in what he described as a “significant escalation” to combat “sanctuary city” policies.
Attorney General Barr identified illegal immigrants who enter this country and commit crimes as a significant problem for law enforcement to address. “For many decades, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, the priority for immigration enforcement has been identifying these criminal aliens and deporting them from the country as soon as they are eligible for release by state and local authorities,” Barr stated. “Those efforts are a vital part of how we keep our country safe. Immigration enforcement is an essential part of law enforcement.”
“Unfortunately, in various jurisdictions, so-called ‘progressive’ politicians are jeopardizing the public’s safety by putting the interests of criminal aliens before those of law-abiding citizens,” Barr continued. “They have put in place policies and laws designed to thwart the ability of federal officers to take custody of these criminals and thereby help them escape back into the community. They often proudly brand their jurisdictions as ‘sanctuaries,’ and package their obstructive policies in idealistic and misleading rhetoric about ‘protecting the immigrant community.'”
Let us state the reality upfront and as clearly as possible: 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 Justice Department has sued the State of California over its sanctuary policies, and filed a complaint against the state over a new law that “prohibits the federal government from detaining individuals in private detention facilities.” The DOJ has also filed a 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 announced several other measures being taken by the Department of Justice to crack down on sanctuary cities.
“Today is a significant escalation in the federal government’s efforts to confront the resistance of ‘sanctuary cities,'” said Barr. “We will consider taking action against any jurisdiction that, or any politician who, unlawfully obstructs the federal enforcement of immigration law.”
It’s great to have a rule-of-law guy as attorney general.
You can watch the entire speech below:
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis