Attorney General William Barr said Monday that the Justice Department has filed lawsuits against the state of New Jersey and King County, Wash., over their “sanctuary” policies that deny federal immigration authorities access to criminal aliens.
During a speech to the National Sheriffs’ Association Winter Legislative and Technology Conference, Barr said the department’s suits target the state of New Jersey, Democratic Gov. Philip Murphy, and Democratic Attorney General Gurbir Grewal for a policy that bans officials from sharing state records with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
The AG noted further that the department filed a similar lawsuit against King County, Washington, and King County Executive Dow Constantine for implementing a policy banning ICE agents from using the King County International Airport in Seattle to deport and transport criminal illegal aliens.
“Let us state the reality upfront and as clearly as possible: When we are talking about sanctuary cities, we are talking about policies that are designed to allow criminal aliens to escape,” Barr said during his speech.
“These policies are not about people who came to our country illegally but have otherwise been peaceful and productive members of society,” he continued. “Their express purpose is to shelter aliens whom local law enforcement has already arrested for other crimes.
“This is neither lawful nor sensible,” he added.
In addition to unlawfully harboring illegal aliens, the Justice Department said in its suits that barring ICE agents from using airports is a violation of the Airline Deregulation Act, which bans local jurisdictions from interfering with the prices, routes, and services of air carriers.
“The reality is that sanctuary policies increase the already serious dangers facing police officers by putting criminals back on the streets rather than transferring those criminals to federal immigration authorities for deportation in compliance with federal law,” Barr said.
“These policies are textbook examples of misguided ideology triumphing over commonsense law enforcement. And it is the public and our police who pay the price.”