Attorney General Bill Barr has filed federal lawsuits against the state of New Jersey and King County, Washington over so-called “sanctuary” policies which help illegal aliens evade federal immigration authorities.
The federal government’s complaint against New Jersey, citing the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, claims that the federal government has “undoubted, preeminent authority to regulate immigration.”
“New Jersey has no authority to enforce laws or policies that obstruct or otherwise conflict with federal immigration enforcement efforts,” the complaint says.
In 2018, New Jersey passed a law that bars local law enforcement entities from sharing immigration statuses and release dates of people in their custody. The law also requires those local law enforcement entities to notify a detainee immediately, in a language he or she can understand, if U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) has issued a detainer request for the individual.
Barr’s Department of Justice also sued King County, Washington, which in April of last year prohibited ICE from deporting illegal aliens on flights from King County International Airport, making the airport off limits to federal immigration authorities.
The federal government’s claim against King County is essentially the same as the one against New Jersey — that it, not the county — has jurisdiction over immigration laws.
Barr railed against “sanctuary” cities and states during a speech at the National Sheriff’s Association 2020 Winter Legislative and Technology Conference in Washington, D.C.
“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.”
“Sanctuary” for illegal aliens is once again becoming a topic of national debate.
During his 2016 presidential campaign and thereafter, President Donald J. Trump railed against the locales that harbor illegal aliens, and threatened to withhold federal funding from them. That notion has been fought in federal court.
But President Trump honored the brother of a man who died at the hands of an illegal alien because of California’s “sanctuary” policies during his State of the Union Address.
That came after ICE subpoenaed New York City and Denver for records on four illegal aliens in each city, in an agency first, representing another escalation in the feud between “sanctuary” cities and federal law enforcement.
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