The Justice Department is Going All-Out to End Sanctuary Cities

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In a landmark speech in front of the National Sheriff’s Association this week, Attorney General William Barr put the nation on notice: The Trump administration, and the Justice Department in particular, is finished playing nice with the hundreds of American cities that refuse to enforce the law.

Barr said that the Trump administration is introducing a slate of sanctions that will represent a “significant escalation” against sanctuary cities that protect illegal criminal aliens from deportation.

“Let us state the reality upfront and as clearly as possible,” Barr said. “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.”

The Justice Department has kicked off this new age of enforcement with a federal complaint against New Jersey. In the suit, the federal government is asking a court to rule against “laws that forbid state and local law enforcement from sharing vital information about criminal aliens with DHS.” The suit takes aim at guidance provided by the New Jersey Attorney, which specifically prohibits state officials from sharing the immigration status of detainees with the federal government.

Barr said that was only the first step of many.

“We are reviewing the practices, policies, and laws of other jurisdictions across the country,” he said. “This includes assessing whether jurisdictions are complying with our criminal laws, in particular the criminal statute that prohibits the harboring or shielding of aliens in the United States.

“We are 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,” he continued. “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.”

Cities and states like New York, California, and Chicago may be correct in arguing that they have no obligation to enforce U.S. immigration law. But in their recent actions and policies, these locales have gone far beyond that to actively thwart the feds from doing what’s best for the country. When the policies change from “we’re not lifting a finger” to “we’re going to stop ICE from doing their jobs,” the Supremacy clause of the Constitution comes into play. These politicians are in violation of U.S. law. Worse, they are working against the security of the country.

It’s time for them to be held accountable.