Jeff Sessions Calls Out California's Elected Leaders in a Take-No-Prisoners Speech


As my colleague, Jennifer van Laar, has reported, the Department of Justice has filed a suit in the Eastern District of California alleging that at least three California laws are illegal because they deliberately hamper the ability of ICE to enforce immigration laws in that state. Not only are there laws forbidding California residents to cooperate with ICE, but elected Democrats seem to be pretending they are Orval Faubus in their contempt for federal law and the black letter Constitutional issue (settled in the epic case of Lincoln vs. Davis, 1865) of federal supremacy. Just recently, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf issued a public warning to illegals in Oakland of an impending immigration sweep by ICE.

Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave a speech to the 26th Annual Law Enforcement Legislative Day in Sacramento, CA. He addressed the subject of California’s open revolt against federal law:

And let no one contend that we reject immigration and want to “wall off America” from all lawful immigration. President Trump and the American people know what’s happening. We admit 1.1 million immigrants lawfully to permanent legal status—green card status—every year, the highest numbers in the world.

Immigration law is the province of the federal government. This Administration and this Justice Department are determined to make it work effectively for the people.

I understand that we have a wide variety of political opinions out there on immigration. But the law is in the books and its purpose is clear.

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. Surely, we should be able to agree on this much.

To carry out the intent of our laws, we need law officers. We need our Immigration and Customs Officers and our Customs and Border Protection officers. They are your brothers and sisters. President Trump, the Congress, and the American people want them to accomplish the goals our laws set out for them. That’s why we pay them.

But, California, we have a problem. A series of actions and events has occurred that directly and adversely impact the work of our federal officers.

For example, the mayor of Oakland has been actively seeking to help illegal aliens avoid apprehension by ICE. Her actions support those who flout our laws and boldly validate the illegality. There’s no other way to interpret her remarks.

To make matters worse, the elected Lieutenant Governor of this state praised her for doing so. Bragging about and encouraging the obstruction of our law enforcement and the law is an embarrassment to this proud and important state.

And he went on to name-and-shame:

But in California, we have an even bigger problem than just one mayor. The problems continue.

For example, in January, Ventura County declined a request from ICE to hold an alien Ventura had arrested for continuous sexual abuse of a child. Instead of being removed from this country, he was released back into the community and now our federal law enforcement will need to find him and arrest him wherever he may be.

In recent years, California has enacted a number of laws designed to intentionally obstruct the work of our sworn immigration enforcement officers—to intentionally use every power it has to undermine duly-established immigration law in America.

California won’t let employers voluntarily allow ICE agents on their property. And California requires employers to give notice to employees before ICE inspects their workplace.

When this law was before the California General Assembly, a Judiciary Committee report explicitly stated that its goal was to frustrate “an expected increase in federal immigration enforcement actions.”

ICE agents are federal law enforcement officers carrying out federal law. California cannot forbid them or obstruct them in doing their jobs.

And he formally announced the lawsuit against California.

Jerry Brown reacted as one might expect:

Somehow, I think Brown will eventually discover that this is not a stunt.

Watch the whole speech here.