The Trump administration launched a long overdue legal assault this week on grotesquely unconstitutional new state laws in California that punish compliance with federal immigration laws and provide legal cover for state and local officials to continue brazenly flouting immigration laws and obstructing federal agents trying to enforce them.
Under the longstanding doctrine in American constitutional law known as “dual sovereignty,” states cannot be compelled to enforce federal immigration laws, but they are obliged not to hinder their enforcement. The so-called sanctuary cities that form the bulk of the sanctuary movement really ought to be called traitor cities because they are in open rebellion against the United States, just like the slave states that seceded from the Union before the Civil War.
The sanctuary movement gave illegal aliens permission to rob, rape, and murder Americans by, among other things, stigmatizing immigration enforcement. Some left-wingers use the dreadful euphemism “civil liberties safe zones” to describe sanctuary jurisdictions. The phrase deliberately blurs the distinction between citizens and non-citizens by implying illegal aliens somehow possess a civil right to be present in the U.S.
“Immigration law “is the province of the federal government” and while there may be “a wide variety of political opinions out there on immigration,” the law is on “the books and its purpose is clear,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told law enforcement officers attending the California Peace Officers Association’s 26th Annual Law Enforcement Legislative Day on Wednesday in the state capital of Sacramento.
There is no nullification. There is no secession. Federal law is “the supreme law of the land.” I would invite any doubters to Gettysburg, and to the graves of John C. Calhoun and Abraham Lincoln. A refusal to apprehend and deport those, especially the criminal element, effectively rejects all immigration law and creates an open borders system. Open borders is a radical, irrational idea that cannot be accepted.
The United States of America is not “an idea;” it is a secular nation-state with a Constitution, laws, and borders, all of which are designed to protect our nation’s interests.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a radical leftist, bristled at the attorney general’s Civil War rhetoric, moaning that he has no “credibility.”
“As far as I’m concerned, Jeff Sessions should be advised, and I’ll advise him right now, that it’s a bad idea for him to start talking about anything to do with the history of slavery or Reconstruction or the Civil War in the United States,” Harris said in the leftist echo chamber known as MSNBC.
“His credibility is pretty much shot on those issues.”
“I think that these folks are really mired in rolling back the clock in time, and that’s not going to happen,” Harris said.
“California represents the future, and they don’t like it,” the deluded lawmaker said. “Jeff Sessions has clearly put a target on the back of California, and California’s going to fight.”
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) blasted the lawsuit, describing it as “an act of war” against California that is part of “a reign of terror” against illegal aliens.
But California cannot win this battle without tearing the republic apart. Either the Golden State is part of the United States of America, bound by its laws and the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, or it is not.
This cannot end well for California where radical leftist office-holders like Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (D) are doubling down in their reckless defiance of the federal government. Schaaf now tips off illegal aliens about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids to applause from the mainstream media.
Schaaf piously insists her actions have not endangered ICE officers. “How can it be dangerous and illegal simply to tell people what the law is, what their rights are, what their resources are?” she said disingenuously. “That’s all I did.”
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), the former San Francisco mayor who is running for governor, hailed Schaaf. “We can and must protect immigrant families from Donald Trump’s mass deportations,” he said. “I want to thank Mayor Schaaf for her courage and hope more local leaders will follow her lead.”
The new federal lawsuit unveiled by Sessions targets three new statutes in the chaotic, crime-ridden, failing “sanctuary state” that is home to more than 2 million aliens whom the Left is using taxpayer money to groom as loyal voters for Democratic Party candidates. The state laws curb the power of California’s state and local law enforcement to hold, question, and transfer detainees at the request of federal immigration authorities, and punish employers for cooperating with those authorities. The seditious laws were enacted to sabotage immigration enforcement efforts and in the process protect Democrats’ base.
The legal action seeks to strike down AB 450, which prohibits private employers from voluntarily cooperating with federal immigration officials—including officials conducting worksite enforcement efforts. It attacks SB 54, which prevents state and local law enforcement officials from providing information to the feds about the release date of deportable criminal aliens in their custody. The suit also places a bullseye on AB 103, which imposes a state-run inspection and review scheme of the federal detention of aliens held in facilities pursuant to federal contracts.
“We are a strong, prosperous, and orderly nation,” Sessions said. “And such a nation must have a lawful system of immigration,” he said. “I am not aware of any advanced nation that does not understand this fundamental tenet.”
Americans are “right to insist that this country should end the illegality, create a rational immigration flow, and protect the nation from criminal aliens,” Sessions said.
It cannot be that someone who illegally crosses the border and two days later arrives in Sacramento, Dubuque, Louisville, and Central Islip is home free – never to be removed. It cannot be the policy of a great nation to up and reward those who unlawfully enter its country with legal status, Social Security, welfare, food stamps, and work permits. Meanwhile those who engage in this process lawfully and patiently and wait their turn are discriminated against at every turn.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration won a rare legal victory on the Left Coast in a sanctuary jurisdictions case.
In a lawsuit brought by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Judge William H. Orrick ruled Monday that he could not compel the federal government to hand over a specific $1 million grant it is withholding because the state is shielding illegal aliens from federal immigration authorities.
“The weighty and novel constitutional issues posed in this litigation deserve a complete record before they are adjudicated,” the slippery black-robed politician wrote, Anthony Kennedy-style.
This decision may be good news for the Trump administration even though Orrick of March 2018 is rather baldly contradicting Orrick of November 2017.
The judge, who was appointed by President Obama, already ruled on the “weighty and novel constitutional issues” he references pretty conclusively a few months ago, coming down hard against Trump’s executive order. (The judge’s rulings on sanctuary jurisdictions may be read at the court’s website.)
In a separate lawsuit brought by Santa Clara County and San Francisco against President Trump, Orrick granted summary judgment on Nov. 20, 2017 to the two localities. The judge made permanent his previously issued preliminary injunction against Executive Order 13768.
EO 13768, signed by President Trump on Jan. 25, 2017, states it is official administration policy that:
Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States. These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.
Section 9(a) of EO 13768 is the specific provision by which federal monies are being withheld from sanctuary jurisdictions. It is also the provision specifically enjoined until the end of time by Orrick three-and-a-half months ago.
Section 9(a) states that to enforce the funding ban, “the Attorney General and the [Homeland Security] Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with law, shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary.”
Orrick found Section 9(a) was “unconstitutional on its face” and that the counties proved it “has caused and will cause them constitutional injuries by violating the separation of powers doctrine and depriving them of their Tenth and Fifth Amendment rights.”
Maybe between Nov. 20 and March 5, the legal meaning of the infamous Section 9(a) somehow changed in Orrick’s calculating mind. Maybe the permanent injunction isn’t so permanent anymore; intellectual consistency is not, after all, something for which left-wing jurists are known.
For what it’s worth, in the California v. Sessions lawsuit, Becerra appeared to be taunting Sessions in the title of the proceeding itself by referring to the Alabama-born official by his full, mouthful of a name, to wit, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. As a white man from the Deep South, Sessions is an irresistible target for slimy leftists like Becerra (and Harris).
During Sessions’ U.S. Senate confirmation process, left-wingers relished using the then-nominee’s Southern-sounding, eight-syllable name over and over again as they tried to tar the public servant as a vicious racist. Never mind that Sessions desegregated his state’s schools and crippled the state’s Ku Klux Klan before coming to Washington.
Lawbreaking officials in California may be about to get a surprise, courtesy of the Trump administration.
It was previously reported that federal prosecutors are considering filing criminal charges against elected officials harboring illegal aliens in sanctuary jurisdictions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the Senate Judiciary Committee in mid-January.
Jailing the leaders of sanctuary jurisdictions who obstruct ICE agents is long overdue.
Oakland’s Libby Schaaf should be the first leftist politician in California to be perp-walked.
This article by Matthew Vadum first appeared March 9, 2018, at FrontPageMag.