The recent announcement by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra that he will prosecute any California employer that cooperates with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) in the enforcement of federal immigration law deserves a swift and hard-hitting response by federal law enforcement officials. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions should throw the proverbial book at Becerra by having him arrested and charged, at a minimum, with conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
When then-Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio stood up to the Obama Administration’s lax immigration enforcement policy, the United States Department of Justice under Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s stewardship showed no hesitancy in prosecuting him for criminal contempt charges. Arpaio was subsequently convicted and but for President Trump’s pardon, he might well be in jail today.
The shoe is now on the other foot. On Thursday, Becerra responded to reports that ICE was stepping up its presence in California by issuing an ultimatum to California employers – either refuse to cooperate with ICE or be prosecuted under California’s new sanctuary state law that imposes fines of up to $10,000 against any employer that voluntarily provides federal immigration officials with information relevant to an employee’s immigration status.
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Just as Mr. Becerra thumbs his nose at U.S. homeland security officials, recent polling indicates that upwards of 76 percent of the American people want more ICE officers hired. Furthermore, a whopping 82 percent want tougher laws against illegal immigrants who commit criminal acts. The U.S. House of Representatives has done its part by passing “Kate’s Law” and “The No Sanctuary For Criminals Act” last summer. If it weren’t for the obstructionist Democrats in the U.S. Senate led by Chuck “Shutdown” Schumer, these measures would likely already be the law of the land.