He told members of the California Peace Officers’ Association, which includes police leaders from departments around the state, that the federal justice department will use all of its powers to dismantle California’s sanctuary state policies.
“California absolutely appears to me to be using every power it has, and powers it doesn’t have, to frustrate federal law enforcement,” Sessions told the gathering. “I’m going to use every power I have to fight that.”
In his speech, coming the day after Sessions filed suit against California in federal court over several state sanctuary laws, Sessions struck an outraged and condemnatory tone. But he told the California police officials at the conference that he and the Trump administration “have got your back.”
He singled out Schaaf for her warning earlier this month of an impending ICE operation in the Bay Area. “For example, the mayor of Oakland has been actively seeking to help illegal aliens evade apprehension by ICE,” Sessions told the police. “Her actions aid those who openly flout the law.
“Here’s my message to Mayor Schaaf,” Sessions added. “How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical open border agenda.”
Schaaf issued a statement yesterday in advance of Session’s appearance in Sacramento. “Oakland is a city of immigrants,” Schaaf said. “We will continue to exercise our legal right to exist as a sanctuary city.”
She condemned the Trump administration’s approach to immigration enforcement. “This administration has tried to portray all immigrants as villains. We know that is a racist lie, and we will shed light on that myth every day.”
The California Peace Officers’ Association is one of several large law enforcement advocacy groups in the state. It’s gathering in Sacramento today is part of its annual “legislative day” in which its membership lobbies state lawmakers.
The group tends to oppose criminal justice reform measures and actively opposed SB 54, the bill approved last year that prohibits state and local police from helping ICE enforce civil immigration law.