Coronavirus is no excuse to empty jails

Consistent with his prior advocacy for arresting federal immigration officers, Boudin demanded that Gavin Newsom, California’s arch-progressive governor, shut down federal immigration detention facilities. Even for Newsom, who has taken to referring to the onetime Bear Flag Republic as a “nation-state,” seizing federal property and reenacting Fort Sumter was a step too far. As Newsom’s press secretary conceded, “the federal government has exclusive authority over immigration law.”

Responsible law enforcement requires continually reevaluating the lessons of public safety. The great success of crime reduction since the early 1990s counsels against unlearning the lessons of that era. That does not mean that society should stop asking hard questions about what criminal-justice reforms could be undertaken safely. But a left-wing radical who is ideologically opposed to previous successes and who takes an adversarial stance toward the entire enterprise of law enforcement is unlikely to strike the right balance.

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