The Corner


What to Do about California’s Sanctuary Cities

A U.S. Border Patrol agent walks the border fence in San Diego.

California Democrats have continued their attempts to nullify federal immigration law. This week, Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf warned illegal aliens that ICE was planning an operation in the Bay Area. ICE acting director Tom Homan slammed Schaaf’s “reckless” comment, saying that it endangered officers and the public and helped hundreds of criminal aliens avoid arrest.

If you’re saying, “There oughta be a law,” there is. Three of them, at least. My colleague Dan Cadman explains how the mayor could be charged with harboring, obstruction, and/or “conspiracy against the United States.”

The question is whether the Department of Justice will go forward with charges against Schaaf or other officials in sanctuary jurisdictions. Andy McCarthy would know better than me the decision-making process, but the Department of Homeland Security asked federal prosecutors in January to look into criminal charges against sanctuary leaders.

Although the prosecutors’ case would obviously need to be legally sound, the decision to actually bring charges would be a political decision. Given the explosive nature of such a move, it would be essential to win not only in the courtroom but also in the court of public opinion. And Schaaf seems like a good candidate. She’s a radical leftist who doesn’t even pretend that the city is willing to work with ICE on certain serious crimes. Oakland last year withdrew any cooperation with ICE even on investigations of sex-slavery and drug-smuggling. If she were asked under oath who told her about the upcoming raids, she’d likely take the Fifth, which would make for great headlines. And since it’s likely that ICE informed the Oakland Police Department before the operation, each officer who was alerted would also be deposed to establish the chain that ultimately led to the mayor.

I’d love to hear Andy’s thoughts on all this, but something clearly has to be done. Although the threat of denying certain DOJ grants has moved some less-committed sanctuary jurisdictions to change their policies, bringing the pro-sanctuary Democrats to heel will require sterner measures. The last time states resisted national authority like this, the bravado was met with troops sent to enforce the law.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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