SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is coming to California to make a major immigration enforcement announcement.
According the U.S. Attorney in Sacramento, Sessions will be in the state capital on Wednesday morning to make a major announcement on the issue of giving sanctuary to undocumented immigrants.
Currently, California and several of the state’s largest cities have sanctuary policies which prevent local law enforcement or local employers from cooperating in any way with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
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Still, the agents have detained several hundred undocumented immigrants in sweeps in both Northern and Southern California since the beginning of the year. ICE agents have even targeted 7-Eleven stories in the state.
The raids have become a hot button issue particularly with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf triggering a firestorm of controversy in late February when she warned residents of impending ICE raids just hours before they were set to begin.
Schaaf has defended her actions, but drew condemnation from the Trump White House.
“I think it’s outrageous that a mayor would circumvent federal authorities and put them in danger by making a move such as that,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “That is currently under review by the Department of Justice.”
A defiant Schaaf fired back.
“I find it difficult to believe even in today’s America that informing people of their legal rights could be considered illegal,” she said.
President Donald Trump has also been a harsh critic of the state’s sanctuary policies, threatening to pull ICE agents from the state, warning that the nation’s most populous state would turn into a “crime nest” without the federal agents.
He has pointed to “a disgrace, the sanctuary city situation” and lamented the “protection of these horrible criminals.”
The president’s comments were part of the continuing effort by the administration to pressure “sanctuary cities” to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
The Justice Department has threatened to deny millions of dollars in federal grant money to communities that refuse to comply with a statute requiring information-sharing with federal law enforcement. It’s an essential part of Trump’s efforts to crack down on cities and states that refuse to help enforce U.S. immigration laws.
Trump issued the threat during a meeting with state and local officials on school safety and gun violence. He told Sessions and others that his administration has targeted members of the violent MS-13 gang but has been “getting no help from the state of California.”
“Frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California you would have a crime nest like you’ve never seen in California. All I’d have to do is say is, ‘ICE and Border Patrol, let California alone,’ you’d be inundated. You would see crime like nobody has ever seen crime in this country.”
He added: “If we ever pulled our ICE out, and 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. They would be begging. And you know what, I’m thinking about doing it.”
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