By Jim Kouri
With a Justice Department fiercely focusing on taking legal action against state laws that help to combat illegal aliens and crimes they commit, a group of U.S. Senators is asking the Obama Administration to stop ignoring local ordinances that undermine federal laws by offering undocumented aliens sanctuary.
Two cities were recently added to the growing list of so-called sanctuary cities that protect illegal — even criminal — aliens from Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents: Washington, D.C., and New York City.
The fact that the President of the United States lives in a location officially designated a sanctuary from the President’s own administration has reached the level of absurdity, according to former police commander and homeland security specialist Sid Franes.
“Doesn’t anyone in the mainstream media see the anti-American, pro-Mexican leanings of the current White House occupants? There should be moral outrage that federal agencies that deal with illegal aliens don’t have authority to enforce federal immigration laws, thanks to Mayor Gray’s executive order,” Franes noted.
In battling local immigration control measures nationwide, the Obama Department of Justice has claimed that they conflict with federal immigration law and undermine the government’s careful balance of immigration enforcement priorities and objectives, according to the Judicial Watch news blog.
The Obama Administration has made this argument recently in DOJ cases against Arizona and Alabama. South Carolina is already in the sights of Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama, having just passed a state law similar in scope to Arizona’s and Alabama’s statutes.
But what is the administration doing about local governments that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and blatantly ignore the legal status of arrested individuals? A group of Senate Judiciary Committee members posed the question to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano this week.
They specifically mentioned Cook County Illinois where local authorities openly flip the finger at the feds by refusing to report illegal immigrants who come in contact with police, even dangerous criminals. In fact, in 2007 Judicial Watch took legal action against the Chicago Police Department — which has a don’t-ask-don’t-tell immigration policy — after learning of an illegal immigrant sanctuary resolution that was being considered by Cook County’s Board of Commissioners at the time.
In a letter to Napolitano this week, the Judiciary Committee members — GOP Senators Chuck Grassley (Iowa), John Cornyn (Texas), Tom Coburn (Oklahoma) and Jeff Sessions (Alabama) — cite a recent meeting with a high-ranking Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official who confirmed that Cook County creates a major problem for enforcement efforts. In fact, the ICE associate director of removal operations said Cook County’s egregious example of sanctuary city policies presents “an accident waiting to happen.”
So the senators asked Napolitano: “We would like to know what specific steps have been and will be taken by your Department to compel Cook County to reverse its policy of ignoring immigration detainees. In addition, we would request an overview of meetings held between federal officials and Cook County, including any emails or other documentation that exist, to understand how the federal government has been or is attempting to rectify the situation.”
Napolitano is urged to take a direct role in the matter by the lawmakers who remind the Homeland Security Secretary that Cook County’s ordinance creates a “serious threat to the public’s safety” that requires Napolitano’s “immediate and personal attention.” It’s a matter of national security, the veteran senators asserted.
Americans shouldn’t hold their breath. The Obama Administration is too busy fighting local measures that are viewed as “discriminatory” and “anti-immigrant” by the open borders movement. In fact, the DOJ even created a secret group within the bloated civil rights division to monitor laws passed by states and local municipalities to control illegal immigration, according to the Judicial Watch blogger.
Judicial Watch has been a frontrunner in the nationwide battle to combat illegal immigration and earlier this year filed a motion on behalf of the Arizona State Legislature in the Obama Administration’s lawsuit challenging its tough law.
JW has also sued police departments across the country for practicing don’t-ask-don’t-tell immigration policies and has led an effort to shut down taxpayer-funded day laborer centers.