In the wake of news that the United States is suing California for its immigration laws, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions took aim at the state’s leaders, and one mayor in particular.
He singled out Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who sparked controversy last month by warning the city’s residents of an impending federal immigration raid.
That move led to backlash from officials including Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan. He confirmed that the agency would be launching a “review” of what he called an “irresponsible decision” that tipped off criminals living in the state.
Sessions maintained that tone in comments he made Wednesday morning during a speech at an event supporting the law enforcement community.
“Federal agents must be able to do that job that Congress directed them to do,” he said, asserting that policies like those of Schaaf and others across the state put the lives of officers in jeopardy.
Nevertheless, he insisted those officers are “not backing down, not going to be deterred and we’re not going to stop enforcing the law.”
Sessions saved his most pointed criticism for the Oakland mayor.
“So here’s my message for Mayor Schaff: How dare you,” he said. “How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical open borders agenda.”
The problem extends to “more than just one mayor,” he added, offering a few examples of what he deemed problematic behavior by California leaders.
“For example, in January, Ventura County declined a request from ICE to hold an alien Ventura had arrested and put in its custody for continuous sexual abuse of a child,” he said. “Instead of having him removed from the country, he was released back into the community and now federal law-enforcement officers will try to find him and arrest him wherever he may be.”
His message of rebuke extended to the state as a whole and included a reference to Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom as an “embarrassment for the great state of California.”
Sessions said Newsom, seen by some Democrats as a possible national face of the party’s future, is guilty of “bragging about the obstruction of law enforcement” in pursuing his immigration agenda.
Schaff was one of several prominent Californians to issue a response to Sessions’ comments.
“Now is good time to remind our community Oakland’s violent crime rate has dropped dramatically in the last five years,” she wrote, including a link to related statistics.
California Gov. Jerry Brown was quick to dismiss the attorney general’s comments as a “political stunt” rooted in the biases of President Donald Trump.
“It’s more like Fox News and what’s going on in Washington,” he claimed. “We know the Trump administration is full of liars.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.