The Justice Department Wednesday threatened Los Angeles, San Francisco and 21 other so-called “sanctuary cities” with subpoenas if they fail to provide documents related to local law enforcement policies on sharing information with federal immigration authorities.
The move is another escalation of the Trump administration’s attempt to force local jurisdictions into going beyond their legal obligations in cooperating with the federal government on identifying and detaining immigrants who may be in the country illegally.
“I continue to urge all jurisdictions under review to reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law. We have seen too many examples of the threat to public safety represented by jurisdictions that actively thwart the federal government’s immigration enforcement — enough is enough.”
Sessions was known as an immigration hardliner in the Senate, and another hardliner, Stephen Miller, worked for Sessions before joining the Trump Administration.
The DOJ letter requests documents “reflecting any orders, directives, instructions, or guidance to your law enforcement employees” about how to “communicate with the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
The California cities and jurisdictions listed in the letter, in addition to Los Angeles and San Francisco, are:
- State of California
- Monterey County
- Sacramento County
- Sonoma County
Speaking at a news conference at the opening of the U.S. Conference of Mayors‘ 86th annual Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called the letter “pure politics” and said every mayor “cares more about the public safety of our people than anybody living outside of our cities. There is not a single mayor in this country who says, `Please, if you’re a criminal, come on over. And if you’re undocumented, bonus points.’ This is a myth.”
A bipartisan group of mayors had been slated to attend a meeting at the White House on infrastructure issues, but some Democratic mayors, including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, pulled out of the meeting in response to the DOJ letter. Garcetti’s office said the mayor had not been invited by the White House to attend the meeting.
— From Staff and Wire Reports
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