UPDATE 2 — 3/7, 12:42 p.m. EST: Speaking Wednesday from Sacramento, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department is suing the state of California over its refusal to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
According to the lawsuit, Golden State officials are violating the U.S. Constitution, which effectively states federal law takes precedence over state statutes.
UPDATE — 3/2, 9:02 a.m. EST: Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Thursday 232 illegal immigrants have been arrested in the San Francisco Bay Area since Sunday.
Previous to the four-day enforcement sweep, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf publicly announced that ICE would be conducting raids, explaining that she wanted to “protect” the city’s residents.
According to federal officials, 180 of those detained “were either convicted criminals, had been issued a final order of removal and failed to depart the United States, or had been previously removed”.
I do not regret sharing this information. It is Oakland’s legal right to be a sanctuary city and we have not broken any laws. We believe our community is safer when families stay together. pic.twitter.com/ng13yq431L
— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) February 28, 2018
On Thursday, President Trump said he is currently mulling the removal of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents from the state of California.
Often at odds with California state officials on immigration, Trump has repeatedly criticized the Golden State’s policies on illegal immigration, slamming its “sanctuary” immigration policies.
Trump has often condemned an outgrowth of cities and states which protect illegal immigrants from federal immigration law enforcement.
At a White House meeting regarding school safety in which he welcomed state and local officials, Trump outlined progress his administration had made in the prosecution of gun crime.
Addressing gang violence, Trump lamented ICE receiving no assistance from California and conjectured over the effects of halting ICE operations in the state.
“Frankly, it’s a disgrace, the sanctuary city situation, the protection of these horrible criminals in California, that if we ever pulled our ICE out, if we ever said ‘hey, let California alone, let them figure it out for themselves,’ in two months they’d be begging for us to come back. . . . And you know what, I’m thinking about doing it,” Trump said.
Trump added the state would experience a surge in crime if ICE agents were removed. “All I’d have to do is say ‘ICE and border patrol, let California learn,’” he said.
Trump’s comments drew a swift rebuke from several California lawmakers, including Gov. Jerry Brown, who responded:
“In California we protect all of our people from criminals and gangs, as well as dangerous assault weapons. We do our job Mr. President, you do yours.”
ICE agents have recently stepped up efforts to arrest illegal immigrants in California, conducting sweeps among businesses in Northern California and the Los Angeles area. The sweeps have netted several hundred illegals in Southern California, 88 percent of which ICE said had been previously convicted of at least one crime.
The Trump administration’s effort to crack down on unlawful U.S. persons has gone unappreciated by both California senators, who sent a letter to ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan in January accusing the White House of “diverting resources in an effort to punish California and score political points”, after learning federal law enforcement was not necessarily prioritizing “dangerous criminals” for arrest.
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