Barr Announces Multiple Lawsuits as Part of DOJ Crackdown on Sanctuary Cities


Attorney General William Barr announced Monday the Justice Department is filing three lawsuits against California, New Jersey and a Washington county over their so-called “sanctuary city” policies relating to illegal immigrants.

“Today is a significant escalation in the federal government’s efforts to confront the resistance of ‘sanctuary cities,'” Barr said during remarks at the National Sheriffs’ Association Winter Legislative and Technology Conference.

“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,” the attorney general said.

“These policies are not about people who came to our country illegally but have otherwise been peaceful and productive members of society,” he explained.

“Their express purpose is to shelter aliens whom local law enforcement has already arrested for other crimes. This is neither lawful nor sensible.”

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Barr pointed to the Constitution’s “Supremacy Clause” as making clear the federal government, not states and localities, have jurisdiction over immigration law.

“The Founding Fathers carefully divided responsibility and power between the federal government and the state governments,” Barr said. The ‘Supremacy Clause’ in Article VI of the Constitution provides that the ‘Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof … shall be the supreme law of the land.'”

“This clause is a vital part of our constitutional order,” he continued.

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“Enforcing a country’s immigration laws is an essential function of the national government.”

“While federal law does not require that ‘sanctuary jurisdictions’ actively assist with federal immigration enforcement, it does prohibit them from interfering with our enforcement efforts,” Barr said.

In 2012, the Supreme Court struck down parts of an Arizona law which empowered state officials to assist in enforcing immigration law, finding it was a matter in which federal law preempts the state.

“The National Government has significant power to regulate immigration,” then-Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

“Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law,” Kennedy added.

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The DOJ’s suit against California that Barr announced targets a new state law prohibiting the federal government from using private detention facilities to house those in the country illegally, Fox News reported.

“California has every right to decide how it wants to manage its own prisoners and detainees, but it has no authority to dictate to the federal government how it conducts federal operations,” the attorney general said.

He also announced that the DOJ is “filing 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 [Department of Homeland Security].”

“New Jersey has no authority to enforce laws and policies that obstruct or otherwise conflict with federal immigration and enforcement efforts,” the complaint reads.

Finally, the DOJ is suing King County in Washington state for forbidding the DHS to deport illegal aliens using its airport.

King County encompasses Seattle and surrounding communities.

“That lawsuit targets King County Executive Order PFC-7-1-EO, which the DOJ said has dramatically increased operating costs for ICE as detainees have had to be transported to Yakima, Washington,” according to Fox News.

Yakima is located about 150 miles southeast of Seattle.

Barr also told the sheriff’s association that the DOJ is “meticulously reviewing the actions of certain district attorneys who have adopted policies of charging foreign nationals with lesser offenses for the express purpose of avoiding the federal immigration consequences of those nationals’ criminal conduct.”

“In pursuing their personal ambitions and misguided notions of equal justice, these district attorneys are systematically violating the rule of law and may even be unlawfully discriminating against American citizens,” the AG said.

Barr concluded, “We will consider taking action against any jurisdiction that, or any politician who, unlawfully obstructs the federal enforcement of immigration law.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
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We Hold These Truths
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Phoenix, Arizona
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Politics, Entertainment, Faith