Earlier today Jazz wrote about the lawsuit the Department of Justice filed against California over three specific laws involving immigration. In addition to the lawsuit, there has also been a fiery war of words today between AG Jeff Sessions and California Governor Jerry Brown. Speaking to the California Peace Officers’ Association in Sacramento, Sessions argued California’s efforts to interfere with federal immigration law was tantamount to secession.
“So, California, it appears to me is using every power it has, powers it doesn’t have to frustrate federal law enforcement,” Sessions said. He went on to say, “Immigration law is the province of the federal government. It’s in the constitution.”
“I understand that we have a wide variety of political opinions out there of immigration, but the law is in the books and its purposes are clear and just. There is no nullification. There is no secession. Federal law is the supreme law of the land…This matter has been settled.”
Sessions also referred to the recent decision by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf to warn her community that ICE agents would be conducting sweeps. ICE later suggested that some portion of the 864 criminal aliens it had been unable to arrest were still free because of that warning. Here’s Sessions’ criticism of Schaaf:
AG Jeff Sessions to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf: "How dare you! How dare you endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical, open-borders agenda." https://t.co/o9YskAEJBT pic.twitter.com/6awLSgXAZq
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) March 7, 2018
Governor Brown didn’t take too kindly to Sessions’ comments. Wednesday he gave his own press conference along with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. From the Hill:
“This is really unprecedented for the chief law enforcement officer of the United States to come out to California and act more like Fox News than a law enforcement officer. This is a political stunt,” Brown said. “We know the Trump administration is full of liars. They’ve pled guilty already to the special counsel.”
“This is basically going to war against the state of California, the engine of the American economy. It’s not wise, it’s not right, and it will not stand,” Brown said.
Brown repeated several times that the real purpose of Sessions’ speech was to ingratiate himself with President Trump and speculated his goal was to help change the subject from the ongoing Mueller investigation. The media in attendance asked Brown if he really believed it and the governor just repeated the accusation again.
The governor was also asked twice if he wanted to respond to Sessions’ criticism of Mayor Libby Schaaf. He declined to do so. Clearly, her actions don’t fit with the talking points he was trying to relay, i.e. California is acting reasonably in response to federal immigration law.
Here’s the full Brown/Becerra press conference. I’ve cued up the question at the end where Brown describes Session’s speech as a “reign of terror.”