On Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions had stern words for the mayor of Oakland, California, who recently warned local illegal aliens that ICE officers were planning a major sweep in their area. Reportedly 864 illegals, including violent criminals, avoided capture.
“How dare you,” Sessions said in a direct message to Mayor Libby Schaaf during his speech at the California Peace Officers Association conference in Sacramento.
The attorney general ripped California for flouting federal immigration law with its “sanctuary” policies. His Justice Department also filed a lawsuit against those California policies Tuesday night.
“California is using every power it has — and some it doesn’t — to frustrate federal law enforcement. So you can be sure I’m going to use every power I have to stop them,” Sessions warned.
“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,” he added.
Sessions then turned his ire on Schaaf: “The mayor of Oakland has been actively seeking to help illegal aliens avoid apprehension by ICE. Her actions support those who flout the law and boldly validates illegality,” the attorney general said.
“To make matters worse, the elected lieutenant governor of the state praised her for doing so, bragging about and encouraging obstruction of our law enforcement and the law. I’m afraid this is an embarrassment to the proud state of California,” he continued.
Sessions cited acting ICE Director Homan, who last week said in a statement that 864 illegal immigrants remained at large in the community because of Schaaf’s warning.
“Those are 800 wanted criminals that are now at large in that community — 800 wanted criminals that ICE will now have to pursue by other means, with more difficulty in dangerous situations — all because of one irresponsible action,” Sessions said.
“So here’s my message to Mayor Schaaf: How dare you. How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical, open borders agenda.”
Thanks to Schaaf’s efforts, ICE only managed to round up about 150 people during the sweep across northern California last month.
The Department of Justice is looking into whether Schaaf obstructed justice by warning residents of the impending raid. The mayor boldly claimed in January that she’d be willing to go to prison to protect her city’s sanctuary city policies.
In his speech, Sessions praised the Trump administration’s strong stance on enforcing immigration law. “Immigration law is the province of the federal government,” he said.
“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.”
A number of top Democrats in the state fired back at the attorney general’s actions. House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi characterized the Trump administration’s enforcement of existing immigration laws as “brazen aggression and intimidation tactics”:
The people of California will not be bowed by the Trump Administration's brazen aggression and intimidation tactics. We will fight this sham lawsuit and will fight all cowardly attacks on our immigrant communities. #ProtectDREAMers
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) March 7, 2018
“Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America,” Gov. Jerry Brown said late Tuesday:
At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America. Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they don’t work here. SAD!!!
— Jerry Brown (@JerryBrownGov) March 7, 2018
Senator Kamala Harris said the Trump administration had “put a target on California’s back”:
Jeff Sessions and this Administration have clearly put a target on California's back. The Department of Justice should stop playing politics with public safety. https://t.co/CZ0LeWHVuw
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) March 7, 2018
Sessions, who has long been an immigration hawk, has made combating illegal immigration one of his top priorities since taking office. Here are his full remarks at the California Peace Officers Association conference: