“A Significant Escalation”: Justice Department Sues Sanctuary Cities

In what Attorney General Bill Barr has called a “significant escalation,” the Justice Department is filing actions against sanctuary cities over what is alleged as interference with federal enforcement of immigration laws and removals. As discussed yesterday, both parties seems to be going “all in” on immigration from sharply opposing positions.

Suing sanctuary cities over ICE detainers is actually a difficult issue pitting state against federal authority. Many of these states maintain that they cannot be commandeered into working to enforce federal laws and that ICE should secure court orders. Barr specifically referred a lawsuit against New Jersey over its  New Jersey Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2018-6, which the DOJ says illegally bars officials from sharing the immigration status and release dates of individuals in custody.

The strongest challenge could come in a separate lawsuit against King County over the King County Executive Order PFC-7-1-EO, which forbids DHS from deporting aliens from the United States using King County International Airport. The Justice Department is arguing the order conflicts with the federal Airline Deregulation Act, which “prohibits localities such as King County from enacting or enforcing laws or regulations that relate to prices, routes, or services of air carriers.” Like the other filings, the thrust of the claims is the Supremacy Clause and the argument that states must yield to proper federal authority. Under 49 U.S.C. § 41713(b)(1), federal law preempts state and local government in any laws or orders “related to a price, route, or service of an air carrier that may provide air transportation.”

The DOJ states that

The Airport EO has both the purpose and effect of prohibiting federal immigration authorities from using Boeing Field to remove individuals with final orders of removal from the United States or to transport immigration detainees within the United States. Since issuance of the Airport EO, fixed-base operators (“FBOs”) at Boeing Field, which provide basic aeronautical services to charter flight operators, no longer will service flights by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) Air Operations (“IAO”).

That is a cleaner shot for DOJ on supremacy grounds than the detainer issue which triggers cases involving “commandeering” and federalism.

Here is the King County complaint: DOJ/King CountyLawsuit

Here is the New Jersey complaint: DOJ/NJ lawsuit

39 thoughts on ““A Significant Escalation”: Justice Department Sues Sanctuary Cities”

  1. This was long overdue. We’ve gone through Attorneys-General again and again until one finally was appointed who’d done the job before and remembers when the Federal government had a ready answer for cities and states which obstructed the administration of Federal law – decisive assertion of Federal supremacy. Local obstruction of school integration was overcome as much by Federal force majeure as by brave protesters in the streets.

    Ft. Polk might tweak its Military Operations in Urban Terrain courses to train soldiers how to shut down local lawless local authorities most efficiently here at home. The enemy within is finally being engaged. They won’t give up easily.

  2. Wow, I’ll bet the Prof is a busy man tonight, perhaps over the next few days. Lots of stuff happening on the legal front: Roger Stone, Jessie Liu, the DC Cover-up That’s as Big as Spygate, as outlined by Conservative Treehouse. https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/02/11/the-dc-cover-up-thats-as-big-as-spygate/#more-183327

    I don’t really understand the ramifications of much of this, so I’m hoping the Prof unpacks some of it for us over the next few days.

    1. It’s the last of the Hillary Fifth Column being drummed out of DOJ after lying to their bosses about a sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone.

      1. It seems it’s another Vietnam in that we need to destroy the village to save it.

        A good start would still be to wholesale get rid of 2/3rds of all govt non-military personal.

        If we can’t outright fire them then move them to an Air Base hanger & have them solve crossword puzzles all day.

        We either have to get rid these Hillary Fifth Column fleas/ticks off the dog or they’ll kill the dog. And the dog is showing signs already of being sick.

        I’m at least glad to see Trump & AG showing signs of moving on some issues.

        1. A good start would still be to wholesale get rid of 2/3rds of all govt non-military personal.

          A good start would be to not say flippant and asinine things. The Department of Justice is a problem. The CIA is a problem, the Department of State is a problem. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is a very different sort of problem. You deal with your problems. You don’t flush out federal civil servants willy nilly in some tricorn-hat masturbatory fantasy.

          1. Yeah Sure! Right

            Many still remember,

            The scariest words in the English language are:

            I’m from the Government & I’m here to Help!


            Sorry, to bad, but in order to fix this nation without collapsing it many past heads of those Depts you mention/others, agree with have to cut the hell out of these out control agencies & Federal civil servants.

            Where is the constitutional authority of most those agencies to act???

            Show us where it’s written!

            And your below comment, are you smart enough to beg to reel your tongue back? And if you people hate this country so bad just get the hell out, you people’s commie/nazi b*tching has gotten boring to the rest of us.

            Go take a basic management class!

            ” You deal with your problems. You don’t flush out federal civil servants willy nilly in some tricorn-hat masturbatory fantasy.”

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