U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told California law enforcement officials Wednesday that a lawsuit he filed against the state challenges limits on cooperation with federal immigration authorities that are unconstitutional.
Worse, they defy even common sense.
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Sessions said several California state laws prevent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from carrying out their lawful duty and singled out elected liberal officials for their actions.
He had particularly strong words for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who issued an unusual — and potentially illegal — public warning last month that she was tipped off that an immigration operation was imminent, perhaps within 24 hours.
“How dare you?” he said of Schaaf at a California Peace Officers Association meeting in Sacramento. “How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of law enforcement just to promote your radical open borders agenda?”
The Justice Department, in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in Sacramento, is challenging three California laws that, among other things, bar police from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement activities.
“It wasn’t something I chose to do, but I can’t sit by idly while the lawful authority of federal officers are being blocked by legislative acts and politicians,” Sessions said, straying from his prepared remarks.
More than a dozen attendees in a room of about 200 people gave Sessions a standing ovation.
The lawsuit is the latest salvo in an escalating feud between the Trump administration and California, which has resisted the president on issues from taxes to marijuana policy and defiantly refuses to help federal agents detain and deport immigrants.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has said it will increase its presence in California, and Sessions wants to cut off funding to jurisdictions that won’t cooperate.
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Sessions, who has blamed sanctuary city policies for crime and gang violence, spoke Wednesday to groups representing police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys, narcotics investigators and the California Highway Patrol. Only the California State Sheriffs’ Association actively opposed the so-called sanctuary law.
The Associated Press contributed to this article