Attorney General William Barr said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are being hampered by state sanctuary policies and that ICE agents, along with U.S. Customs Border and Protection (CBP) can ignore state rules that try to prevent them from making arrests.
Barr and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolfe wrote to the chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, and the chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court, this week.
Oregon has banned federal agents from making arrests of illegal aliens in their state courts. The Washington Supreme Court is considering a similar rule.
The letter advised the states to “reconsider this dangerous and unlawful course of action.”
“These states laws and policies force state and local officers to release criminal aliens into communities in your states, endangering the public and forcing it to bear the cost of any additional criminal acts they may proceed to commit,” Barr and Wolf wrote. “These policies have resulted in the release of criminal aliens with convictions for serious and violent offenses, such as domestic violence assaults, firearms offenses, drug trafficking offenses, and violation of protection orders.”
They cited convicts who have been released under sanctuary policies in Oregon and Washington, including an illegal immigrant who was released by Washington who went on to be arrested for more crimes of violence.
“Put simply, the policies you are considering endanger the public and hamper law enforcement by interfering with that lawful process,” Barr and Wolfe wrote. “Given the clear public danger posed by these state laws and policies, we urge you not to adopt or enforce court rules that would make the situation worse by purporting to require ICE or CBP to obtain a judicial arrest warrant prior to making an administrative arrest for deportation.”
They then stated agents would be able to ignore the rules even if adopted.
“We will further note that ICE and CBP officers are not subject to state rules that purport to restrict ICE and CBP from making administrative arrests on property that is otherwise open to the public and other law enforcement officers. Under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, such rules cannot and will not govern the conduct of federal officers acting pursuant to duly enacted laws passed by Congress when those laws provide the authority to make administrative arrests of removable aliens inside the United States,” said the letter.
The letter comes after Montgomery County, Maryland recently changed some of its sanctuary policies after several illegal immigrant males were released and later arrested for violent crimes, and after residents of Tucson, Arizona voted down a measure that would have made Tucson a sanctuary city. A federal judge recently also upheld a law in Florida that prohibits sanctuary cities.