Charging that so-called "sanctuary" cities that protect illegal immigrants are jeopardizing domestic security, Attorney General Bill Barr announced a slew of additional sanctions that he called a "significant escalation" against left-wing local and state governments that obstruct the "lawful functioning of our nation's immigration system."
Speaking at the National Sheriff’s Association 2020 Winter Legislative and Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., Barr said the Justice Department would immediately file multiple lawsuits against sanctuary jurisdictions for unconstitutionally interfering with federal immigration enforcement, and implement unprecedented national reviews of left-wing sanctuary governments and prosecutors.
"Let us state the reality upfront and as clearly as possible," Barr began. "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."
Sanctuary cities, Barr said, are defined as those with policies that allow "criminal aliens to escape" federal law enforcement -- and some jurisdictions are becoming "more aggressive" in undermining immigration authorities, with local politicians even developing "schemes" to circumvent immigration officials.
In 2018, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf blew the whistle on an imminent raid by federal immigration authorities, tweeting out a warning to illegal immigrants in advance and helping them hide.